Going to the pagoda to ask for peace and happiness is not only a religious ritual but is a Vietnamese custom, especially at this time of the year.
And to meet the increasing demands of tourists, from this month, Lotus Tours introduce a cluster of one-day pilgrimage tours from Ho Chi Minh City to Long Thanh-Ba Ria and Long An-My Tho.
On the tour to Long Thanh-Ba Ria, tourists will have breakfast at Di Lac Pagoda, visit Minh Duc Monastery in Dinh Mountain, Ngoc Son Dinh and Ngoc Thanh temples. Tourists then can then sample vegetarian food at Van Phat Quan Dai Tong Lam, one of the country’s biggest monasteries before visiting Thien Hoa, Pho Chieu and Hue Chieu monasteries.[caption id="attachment_10623" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Joining Buddhist pilgrimage with Lotus Tours[/caption]
Di Lac Pagoda, which was set up in 1975, is where Maitreya, the future Buddha of the world, is worshiped by people who believe that visiting this pagoda at the beginning of a lunar new year will give them happiness all year long.
Dai Tong Lam Pagoda, built in 1964, is one of Vietnam’s biggest Buddhist monasteries. It sits on a plot of nearly 60 hectares and has 10,000 statues of Buddha and bodhisattvas littered around the beautifully landscaped area with 48 granite statues of Amitabha Buddha.
Tourists leaving Ho Chi Minh City to visit Long An-My Tho will have breakfast at Thien Khanh Pagoda, then visit Vinh Trang’s old pagoda and Pho Duc Pagoda which has a free health clinic for the poor. Travelers will keep up their energy for the trip with some vegetarian food at Thien Phuoc Pagoda before visiting Nhoc Lam Temple and Kim Cang Pagoda.
Vinh Trang Pagoda was built in 1849 with a combination of Western and Asian architecture with a special curved arch and colorful designs.
The temple is also famous for its 18 Arhat statues made of jackfruit wood and surrounded by many ancient trees and bonsai.
Kim Cang Pagoda is famous for the Kim Cang Buddhist teachings which are carved into wood with Chinese characters.[caption id="attachment_10622" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Joining Buddhist pilgrimage with Lotus Tours[/caption]
Tourists can also choose other tours to Ba Chua Xu Lady Temple in An Giang Province’s Chau Doc Township. The temple, built in 1820 at the foot of Sam Mountain, Chau Doc District, is a sanctuary where locals and tourists come to honor female legend Ba Chua Xu in the hope of better crops and lives.
The legend dictates that a young girl was raped to death hundreds of years ago. After her death, her sacred soul helped many good villagers and also harmed those who performed wrong deeds. To express gratitude to her, local villagers call her Ba Chua Xu and have held festivals on the 22nd and 23rd days of lunar April annually to worship her and to pray for good health and a better life.
The pagoda tours are not only for visitors to explore the old architecture but also to find peaceful and carefree moments to help repair or strengthen their souls.