The original Bai Dinh Pagoda is located on a mountain in Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province. Not only it is well-known for its unique architecture but also for its role in the development of Vietnam’s Buddhism.
In the 11th century Zen Buddhist monk, Nguyen Minh Khong visited Bai Dinh Mountain to find herbal medicines for the king and noted it as a special land. The mountain oriented towards the west had many precious herbal plants with two caves.
Bai Dinh Pagoda was founded by Nguyen Minh Khong. It was built with two caves on the sides, making it different from other pagodas in Ninh Binh.
In order to reach Bai Dinh Pagoda, visitors have to climb 300 steps, pass a gate and another slope. The Sang (light) Cave is where Sakyamuni Buddha is worshipped and Toi (Dark) Cave is where the nation’s Mother Goddess (Mau) is honoured. There is also a little temple that worships God Cao Son on the mountainside.
The surrounding area around the pagoda was where King Dinh Tien Hoang hosted the ceremony to pray for rain and King Quang Trung hosted a ceremony to boost soldiers’ morale before a battle. In 1997, the original Bai Dinh Pagoda was recognised as a national historical site.
Some photos of the pagoda: