Thousands of visitors flocked to Phat Tich pagoda in the northern
province of Bac Ninh for the annual peony festival, one of the popular
spring festivals in the Red River Delta.
Phat Tich pagoda,
just 25km north-east of the capital, was built in 1057 on a mountain
called Lan Kha during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong (1054-72). It was
reduced to ashes by French colonialists in 1948 and only restored in
When excavating the pagoda from 1949-51,
archaeologists found many old stone sculptures carved with flowers and
dragons, bird goddess statues from the 17th century and a piece engraved
with the head of a fairy. These are now on display at the National
History Museum .
A giant Buddha Amitabha statue was
installed outdoor on Lan Kha mountain in 2010. The stone statue is 27m
tall and weighs 3,000 tonnes. It was adapted from a similar structure
from the Ly Dynasty.
Phat Tich Pagoda is associated with the
legend of Tu Thuc Meeting a Fairy. In the old days, there were a lot of
peonies on Lan Kha Mountain and in the pagoda. One day, a young
woman visited the pagoda to see the flowers. She carelessly broke a
branch from a tree and was fined by the monks. Lucky for her, a local
scholar Tu Thuc also visited the pagoda and took off his coat to
compensate for the broken branch. They became friends and often met at
the pagoda. The woman invited Tu Thuc to visit her house. She took him
to a peony forest and a cave on the mountainside. Upon entering, he saw
an imperial palace with high walls and stone footsteps. She revealed
that she was a fairy and they got married.
people visit the pagoda to take part in the peony festival, where they
enjoy watching the flowers, listening to quan ho (love duets) and poem
recitations while playing traditional games. The festival usually lasts