Hang Pagoda on Ly Son Island
Update: Jun 26, 2017
Ly Son is one of the most beautiful islands in Quang Ngai Province. Blessed by nature, the island has several scenic spots. In this week’s Discovery Viet Nam, we will take you on a tour of Hang Pagoda dubbed as a stone sculpture.

Hang Pagoda on Ly Son Island (Photo: Internet)

Hang Pagoda is in the north of Thoi Loi Mountain where a crater helped form a large lake and is not far from the island’s downtown. The path winds around mountains giving visitors the unexpected experience of beautiful landscapes.

From the mountain, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Ly Son Island. Hang Pagoda was founded under the King Le Kinh Tong regime from the late 16th century to early 17th century. It is called Hang (Cave) Pagoda because it is located in a large cave. 

Carvings on the limestone mountain show that the first visitors to Ly Son Island founded An Hai and An Vinh village and built this pagoda. Tran Vy is a caretaker of Hang Pagoda: “Hang Pagoda which was founded nearly 400 years ago by first inhabitants worships Buddha and the founders of nearby villages. Local people come here to pray for good luck and prosperity.”

The pagoda has a large yard with a lotus lake at the center and a statue of the Goddess of Mercy looking out to the sea. Around the yard are ancient tropical almond trees creating an imposing scene. In front of the pagoda is a well called “Heaven well”. Visitors often try to get a little bit of water dripped from the mountain stalactite believing that it will help relieve them from tiredness. The pagoda is cool inside where there are two small, one is the way to heaven and the other is to hell, according to the locals. 

The main worshiping hall is in the center of the main cave. Altars were created by stalagmite and carved with unique patterns. In the pagoda, traces of the Champa culture are found. Huynh Thuc, an An Vinh villager said “There are relics of the Cham like stone worshiping altars and traces of the Champa Kingdom. These make the pagoda unique.”

A number of spiritual activities are held to mark Buddha’s birthday, All Souls’ Day, death anniversaries of predecessors, and commemoration of the Hoang Sa naval fleet. Ly Son islanders believe that they are blessed by the Goddess of Mercy during their voyages. 

Ngo Hien, a local tour guide, says the 10 square kilometer island is home to approximately 100 historical relics, one third of which have been ranked. Hang Pagoda was recognized as a national relic in 1994. In recent years, the local administration has invested in upgrading the infrastructure and relic sites. Ly Son Island is seeking for national recognition. 

Hien said “The effective preservation and promotion of these values have created more tourist products and attracted a lot of visitors.”