Faithful forgo Buddhist sanctum near Vietnam’s coronavirus hub

By Ngoc Thanh   February 24, 2020 | 06:24 pm GMT+7

Tay Thien, with its cornucopia of Buddhist relics and temples, stands deserted due to its proximity to Vietnam's coronavirus epicenter in Vinh Phuc Province.

Considered as the birthplace of Vietnam Buddhism, Tay Thien Complex in Tam Dao District is just 30 kilometers from Son Loi Commune, which has been locked down starting from February 13 where  eight locals were infected. Seven of them have since been discharged  from the hospital. Vinh Phuc was the hardest hit locality by the Covid-19 epidemic, with 11 of the total 16 infections recorded nationwide, people from other parts of the country have been giving it a wide berth.

Considered the birthplace of Vietnamese Buddhism, Tay Thien Complex in Tam Dao District lies a mere 30 kilometers from Son Loi Commune, locked down since February 13 after eight locals were infected by the coronavirus. Seven have since been discharged from hospital.

Vinh Phuc in northern Vietnam was the hardest hit locality, with 11 of the total 16 infections recorded nationwide, forcing visitors to give it a wide berth.

An asphalt road leading to the center of Tay Thien was empty, with no cars and people walking around.Do Quoc Trong, head of Tay Thien Landscape management board, said: After the Lunar New Year, or Tet, around 20,000 visitors flock there to pray for every day. But now only 100-200 holiday-goers are seen everyday. Now is always the busiest season when people in different parts of the country attend crowded festivals and made pilgrimage visits to pray for luck and prosperty for the new year.

An asphalt road leading to the center of Tay Thien was empty, with no cars and people walking around.

Do Quoc Trong, head of the Tay Thien management board, said: "After the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, around 20,000 visitors flocked here to pray for luck and prosperity each day. But now, only 100-200 frequent the site."

Along the complex, the management board put signs reminding visitors to be hygenic and wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic. Every visitor before entering pagodas and temples must go through the hand-sanitizer spray procedure.Previously, the management board sprayed disinfectants on all locations on an an area of 11.7 hectares.

Signs reminding visitors to adhere to strict hygiene are dotted across the complex, with tourists obliged to sanitize their hands before entering pagodas and temples, all of which have been disinfected.

Tay Thien is considered to be the birthplace of Vietnamese Buddhism. A Buddhist  monk from India came there in the 3rd century BC chose this mountain as  the spot from which to propagate the religion.A must-see site in Tay Thien is Truc Lam Zen Monastery, one of the biggest of its kinds in the country, built in 2005 on the ruins of an ancient pagoda.As usual, throngs of Buddhist followers flock to Tay Thien to celebrate the annual Spring Festival, which will be held on the fifthteen day of the lunar second month every year, which falls on March 8 this year. However, the festival has been canceled to limit overcrowding due to fears over the Covid-19 epidemic.

It is said a Buddhist monk came here from India in the 3rd century BCE, choosing the site from which to propagate his beliefs.

Truc Lam Zen Monastery in Tay Thien, one of the largest of its kinds in the country, was built in 2005 on the ruins of an ancient pagoda.

Throngs of Buddhists flock to Tay Thien during Spring Festival, held on the 15th day of the second lunar month each year, which falls on March 8 this year. However, the festival was canceled to limit overcrowding due to novel coronavirus fears.

Tram drivers relaxedly walk as there are little visitors using this service to visit the Tay Thien landscape.  Ten days ago, most of them worked non-stop from morning till late night. 70 percent of visitors to the Tay Thien scenic area use cable cars and trams.

Ten days ago, most drivers worked from morning till late night, with over 70 percent of visitors utilizing cable cars and mobile transport. Now they rarely have work to do.

A cable car ticket controller fell asleep while waiting for visitors. 

Waiting for arrivals could mean a one-way ticket to dreamland.

During the holidays and festive season, nearly 60 cable car cabins of the scenic landscape operate continuously, but now even on weekends, the number of visitors flocking to there was still sparse.

Normally, during holidays and festive seasons, nearly 60 cable cars operated continuously at the complex, but most are forced to simply hang around for the time being.

A rare group of South Korean tourists appears on the campus of the complex. Starting from now, the Ministry of Health demands all tourists from South Korea complete health declaration forms in the context that South Korea has become the second largest of novel coronavirus epidemic outbreak after China.As of Monday, South Korea reported 763 Covid-19 infection cases while Vietnam has so far recorded 16 novel coronavirus infections, of whom 15 have recovered. The global death toll of the Covid-19 outbreak has reached 2,620 and infections topped over 79,000, mainly in China.

A rare group of South Korean tourists appears on the campus of the complex.

The Ministry of Health has demanded all tourists from South Korea complete health declarations since the country became the second largest victim of the coronavirus after China.

South Korea recorded 161 new coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to 763, of whom seven have died.

The global death toll has reached 2,620 and infections topped over 79,000, mainly in China.

 
 
go to top