Ban Long Pagoda is the spiritual destination that most of the tourism companies mention in the schedule of their Ninh Binh daily tours. This is an ancient pagoda located in the cave at the foot of Dai Tuong Mountain for over 1000 years.
The legend of Ban Long Pagoda
According to the stories told by the folks here, in the cave at the foot of Dai Tuong Mountain, there was a curling dragon. Therefore, they built the pagoda to worship. Ban Long Pagoda was built long time ago and it also experienced the ups and downs of many feudal dynasties. Up to now, it has been the sacred place to many people in Ninh Binh Vietnam.
The pagoda was named Ban Long after the visit of Trinh Sam Lord to this place. Three letters “Ban Long Tu” were inscribed by him on the surling dragon – shaped stone. Besides, in the Ban Long pagoda, there are many stalagmites with the shape of the dragons sitting on their curling tails. They all look mysterious. It has been rumored that when the dragon scales glisten, no matter how severe the drought is, it also gives way to the rain. Thus, Ban Long Pagoda is the place where the annual rain praying rituals take place.
Annual rain praying ritual in Ban Long Pagoda is also a unique feature of Ninh Binh tourism
Architectural features of Ban Long Pagoda
Unlike most of the traditional pagodas in Vietnam, Ban Long Pagoda does not have Tam Quan gate. The path to the pagoda is the bridge made of blue stones. The curved bridge was assembled from the huge plates of stone and sophisticatedly engraved. For those reasons, it is not only unique but also artistic.
Deep inside the cave, the statue of Amitābha Buddha is on the left. This was the very first blue stone statue when the pagoda was newly built. This ancient stone statue is the only one. At the foot of the Buddhist statue is the curling dragon created by the nature.
Buddhist statues are easily seen in many pagoda in Vietnam; however, Buddhist statues in Ban Long pagoda become more mystic thanks to the sculptures on the cave walls by Nature surrounding them. The talented hands of Nature have craved the images of dragon, unicorn, tortoise and phoenix. All these holy animals are gathered to Buddha. Especially, high in the middle of the cave, the image of Buddha riding a white horse was engraved on the stalactites.
In each part of Ban Long Pagoda, the nature left a mark through the exquisite and sacred sculptures. Ban Long pagoda ensconces inside the cave among the green mountain, but it is the sacred place to many people.
Nowadays, when Ninh Binh tour is not unfamiliar to the tourists anymore, Ban Long Pagoda has become more famous. It is the place with the bold characteristics of spiritual destination. It also attracts many visitors with the only features of its own.
Visiting Ban Long pagoda will not take you much time, so 1 day tour in Ninh Binh is suitable for your busy schedule in Vietnam.