I just had a travel trip of spirituality in Nam Dinh province to thank Gods and pray for my family, on the occasion of my younger sister has been selected by a famous high school. Our trip lasted 2 days and we visited 2 sacred places, Tran temple (Đền Trần) and Phu Day pagoda (Chùa Phủ Dầy).
Before telling about my trip, I want to explain the big difference between Pagoda (Chùa) and temple (Đền) in Vietnamese culture, although they have very same architecture. The pagodas in Vietnam always worships the Buddha, they may worship many other Gods but always have the Buddha. And temples never worship the Buddha, they worship a great man (kings, queens, generals,…), a sacred animal (Wale, tiger,…) or even something that are respected.
The first place in my trip is Tran temple (Đền Trần), where worship the kings of Tran dynasty (Nhà Trần), who ruled Vietnam about 9 centuries ago. Tran pagoda, is located in Nam Dinh city, close to 10-highway, is a very sacred place in Northern Vietnam. Every year on the Spring (in 1st lunar month after Lunar New Year), there is a big festival, that is called “open grace of Tran pagoda” (Khai ấn đền Trần), attracting thousands of people from all provines and cities in Vietnam.
However, the time when i visited is 6th lunar month so there are very little people, i can freely travel and photo in the temple.
After visiting Tran temple, we go along the 10-highway to Phu Day complex pagodas (near the highway). This is a complex of 7 temples and pagodas. From very far away, we have seen Tien Huong tower pagoda, this is the first time i know this pagoda. That’s very beautiful tower including 13-storey, each storey worship a few distinct Gods, around has many Arhat statues.
Then, we go to Chinh temple (Phủ Chính), not far from Tien Huong. The temple is most important architecture in the complex, where worship Lieu Hanh princess (Bà chúa Liễu Hạnh), a famous woman in Vietnam history. In Vietnam, there are many villages have Lieu Hanh princess temple, however, in Phu Day is bigest and most important.
If lucky visiting these places at the right times, you will be listened Trau Van music (hát Trầu Văn, a traditional music of Vietnam that’s used in pagodas and temples) and watched a ritual which be called Hau Dong. I was watched this ritual in both of places so i’m very lucky man.
Tran temple and Phu Day complex pagodas are 2 of the most important religious architectures in Northern Vietnam. If you want to have a complete religious trip in Nam Dinh – Vietnam, you can not miss these 2 places.