Ba Den Mountain’s oldest attraction is a Goddess

By Quynh Tran   March 31, 2019 | 10:54 am GMT+7

Ba Den Mountain has several tourist draws, but for millions, blessings of the Lady of the Mountain are paramount.

Ba Den Mountain’s oldest attraction is a Goddess

110 kilometers from Saigon in the southern province of Tay Ninh stands the Ba Den Mountain, and on the mountain stands the Ba Den Pagoda, which attracts millions of pilgrims every year. They trek halfway up this mountain to reach the pagoda. What was a small shrine 300 years ago has become a major spiritual destination.

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Pilgrims and other visitors can choose to climb 1,500 stairs that circle around massive rocks through a luxuriant forest to reach the pagoda. It takes more than an hour from the base of the mountain to reach the pagoda, which stands at a height of over 200 meters.

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A faster option that takes just 10 minutes is the cable car. Costing VND85,000 ($3.65) each way, it is a comfortable ride that also offers panoramic views of the mountains and surrounding areas.

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The pagoda's main place of worship is a five square meter cave that hosts the altar for Goddess Ba Den.

The legend is that as Nguyen Anh was being chased by the Tay Son army, he hid in the Ba Den Mountain and prayed for help to save his starving soldiers. That night, Ba Den appeared in his dream and showed him where to get mountain fruits. In 1790, Nguyen Anh sent soldiers back to the mountain to cast statues and build a pagoda.

Nguyen Anh or Gia Long was the first Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last dynasty of Vietnam (1802-1945).

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Beside the stone cave is the pagoda's main shrine, which was built in 1996 with statues of Bodhisattvas such as Maitreya and Guan Yin. Pilgrims touch the Bodhisattvas statues for luck.

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The 200 square meter hall hosts hundreds of pilgrims each day.

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A statue of the Reclining Buddha has been built on the rocks. The complex has several pagodas and places of study for monks and nuns.

 
 
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