Location: Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province, 12km from Ninh Binh City, 5km from Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, and 95 km south of Ha Noi.
Characteristics: This is one of the largest pagodas in Viet Nam and owns many recors.
Covering a large area of 700ha, Bai Dinh Pagoda is a cluster of Buddhist architectural structures, consisting of new, giant and imposing temples of the newly-built Bai Dinh Pagoda area which play off ancient and respected shrines of the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda area.
◊ The New Bai Dinh Pagoda
The new 80ha Bai Dinh Pagoda area is built in 2003. It nestles against Bai Dinh Mountain and faces a lake near Hoang Long River. Big, bold and solemn structures, deeply imbued with Vietnamese architecture, were arranged in five layers upward, including a temple’s inner three-door gate, a bell tower, a temple dedicated to Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, Phap Chu Temple devoted to the Shakyamuni Buddha, and Tam The Temple dedicated to Buddha.
From the main entrance, the pagoda’s magnificent three-door gate is the biggest of its kind in Viet Nam, built with 550 tonnes of iron wood. The gate is flanked by two 5.5m-high solid bronze guard statues (Ho Phap), weighing 12 tonnes each and four pillars tower over the entrance is 13.85m in height and 0.5m in diameter each. Around the gate are eight smaller bronze statues of Kim Cuong angels, each weighing 8 tonnes.
After walking along the corridor of about 1 kilometer where 500 white-stone Arhat statues are placed two sides, there will be the bell tower with the largest bronze 36-ton bell that is hanging here. Each Arhat statue, 2-2.5m in high, 2-2.5 tonnes in weight, is carved from monolithic stone, need one month for completion and different from each other.
Going up is the 800sq.m Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara Temple – a wooden one-layer-roof building with five main chambers and two side chambers. In the centre of the sanctum is the stunning 10m-high bronze statue of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with a thousand eyes and hands. This 40-tonne statue is considered as the biggest Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara statue in Viet Nam.
The Phap Chu Temple – an imposing imitation wooden two-layer-curve-roof building – where a 10m-high bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sits on his lotus throne situated. This 100-tonne statue has been recognized as the tallest and heaviest bronze depiction of Shakyamuni Buddha in the country in 2006 by the Viet Nam Guinness Book of Records (Vietbook).
The Tam The Temple is located on a high hill at 76m above sea level. This is a majestic, grandiose building with three-layer-curve-roof style and an area of 3000 square meter where three bronze statues represent the past, present and future weighing 50 tonnes each placed.
◊ The Ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda
The ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda area (Bai Dinh Co Tu) is located on Bai Dinh Mountain and at nearly 200m above sea level. Bai Dinh Co Tu lies about 800m from Tam The Temple. The ancient pagoda area is composed of front shrine, the grotto where Buddha is worshipped, the temple worshipped Mountain God, the temple dedicated to Saint Nguyen, and the grotto where Holy Mother of the Forest is worshipped.
According to the Vietnamese concept, the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda is located on an area regarded as a sacred land given it is the birth place of the eminent figures of the nation, including kings, saints and divinities. Almost of all pilgrims and travelers want to reach there. Even this is not short way for walking, it is really a good time for people refresh while strolling.
Bai Dinh Pagoda – the largest pagoda complex in Viet Nam with many records, has been attracting a large number of pilgrims, domestic and international tourists. It is one of biggest works which is build to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Ha Noi in 2010. This impressive complex is waiting for your discovery.