Bai Dinh Pagoda is a religious complex covering a total area of 539 hectare, with both the ancient and the newly renovated Bai Dinh pagoda, parks, car parking and lake system. The pagoda belongs to Ninh Binh province, known as the ancient capital of Vietnam.
The old Bai Dinh pagoda is located on the western slope of Dinh mountain and nestles in quiet forest . The pagoda houses an ancestor-worshipping house in the centre, Bright cave on the right hand side which worships the Buddha , the small temple worshipping Genie Cao Son. In addition, on the left hand side of the pagoda is another temple worshipping Saint Nguyen and next to it is Dark cave which worships the Fairy. With fanciful scenery and quiet atmosphere , the pagoda will make visitors feel likely to live in fairy land and they find peace in their minds.
Besides, visitors can explore many other grottoes and caves like Fairy cave with seven smaller ones or cave of Ba Chua Thuong Ngan( The goddess of forests). In these caves and grottoes, there are a large variety of magnificent stalactites and stalagmites with various strange shapes and sizes that will invoke the imagination of visitors.
On the other side of Dinh Moutain is new Bai Dinh pagoda. This pagoda has been built since 2003 and covers a 80 ha area. The Bai Dinh pagoda possesses many parts such as Tam The Temple, Phap chu Temple, Quan Am temple( Bodhisattva Temple), Bao Thap, Bell Tower and dormitory area for Buddhist monks.
All materials are collected from local area and neighbouring provinces. To build the pagoda requires about five hundred craftsmen and many groups of workers from famous traditional craft villages such as Phu Loc wood making village, Ninh Van stone carving village, Y Yen bronze casting village, Van Lam embroidery village and so on. Such people used Vietnamese materials for instance, green stone of Ninh Binh or ceramic tiles of Bat Trang to create Vietnamese features for the architecture of Bai Dinh pagoda.
The most important emphasizing point of these great religion works are Tam The Temple and Phap Chu Temple. Two temples cover a total area of 1,000 square meters . The height of Phap Chu Temple is up to 22m and it contains five partitions . In the centre of this temple is a bronze Buddha Sykamuni statue with 10 meters high and 100 tons heavy which is certificated as the biggest statue in Vietnam. This statue is casted by the pure bronze bought from Russian, casted and installed by the famous artisans of casting bronze statue in Y Yen, Nam Dinh . Moreover, there are several national records in this temple such as three largest horizontal lacquered boards(hoành phi) and three biggest “Cua Vong” ( a kind of door which is sophisticatedly sculpted and engraved ) .In Tam The Temple , there are three Tam The statues representing the past, the present and the future. Each statue is 12 m high and weighs 100 tons.
Another special feature in Bai Dinh pagoda is “Great Bell” with the weight of 36 tons was casted and located in Bell Tower. In addition, there is 70 -ton bronze drum on the floor of the Tower. What’s more, coming to Bai Dinh pagoda, visitors have a chance to see the biggest Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statue in Bodhissattva Temple. This statue looks so marvellous with thousand hands and eyes to present the protection and universal salvation for common people.
Furthermore, visitors will be astonished at the collection of 500 Arahat statues on the hill on the right – hand side of Phap Chu Temple. The 500 Arhat statues with the height of 2.3m, carved by Ninh Binh stone have different positions and gestures that create magic space and lively atmosphere.
Without a doubt, Bai Dinh pagoda is masterpiece of both nature and men and it is the pride of Vietnamese people in terms of unique architecture, culture and historical value.