Cập nhật: 06/10/2023
Located in Ninh Xuan commune of Hoa Lu district is Ban Long Pagoda and Cave, known as a historical relic as well as a renowned landscape officially inscribed in the list of national cultural historical heritage in 1994 by the Prime Minister.

Ban Long Pagoda has a long-standing history of over 10 centuries. Anecdotally, local people established the pagoda since they once discovered a dragon coiling itself in the cave. Over time, the pagoda has served as a sacred meditative destination for local communities and visitors.

The Pagoda nestles within a cave on Dai Tuong mountain ranges whose shape is likened to a dragon heading toward Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. Lord Trinh Sam gave the name “Ban Long tu” to the pagoda when he was visiting the place in the 18th Century. It is interesting to note that there is a boulder shaped like a sitting dragon with noticeable scales inside Ban Long Cave. Anecdotally, if people saw the dragon scales glistening during dry spells, it would rain in the next few days. Hence, during years of drought, local communities tend to organize a ritual to pray for rain at the pagoda.

Ban Long pagoda is an archetype of unique Buddhist architecture covering approximately 3000 m2. The most ancient Buddha stone statue can be found in the cave. Below the statue are stalagmites described as resembling the four divine animals including Long (dragon), Ly (a Vietnamese imaginary multi-hybrid creature) Quy (turtle) and Phuong (phoenix), heading towards the Buddha statue. Even more interesting is the fact that there is a white-horse-riding- Buddha-shaped stalactite overhanging on the side of a mountain. Every wall of the cave is carved by nature creating delicate relief paintings emanating a sense of reverence and mystery.

In addition to the Buddha worshipping space inside the cave, at the front of the Ban Long Pagoda sits a temple of Three Mother Goddesses of the Three Realms namely, Lieu Hanh Princess, Quynh Hoa Princess, and Que Hoa Princess. These days, several valuable worshipping artefacts are still preserved in the Ban Long Pagoda such as: a stone incense pot with a meticulously carved pattern depicting 02 dragons stretching towards the moon, a Buddha statue made of green stone, and 02 stone lamps.

During the French war, the pagoda served as a firearm factory, an ammunition depot, a military base, as well as the headquarter of the Party cells, and the governments of the Interregional Military District III in Ninh Binh province, Gia Khanh district. Similarly, during the American war, the Ban Long Pagoda was the workplace of Military Hospital 105 belonging to Military District III

Ban Long Pagoda and Cave boasting beautiful natural landscape is a testament to historic events. Situated in a location nearby Trang An Scenic Eco- Tourism, and between Hoa Lu Ancient Capital (to the northwest) and Tam Coc – Bich Dong (to the southwest), therefore, the pagoda always attracts numerous domestic and international visitors.

Nguồn: NinhBinhTPIC