About 10km from Viet Tri City in Phu Tho Province, the Hung Temple is a sanctuary complex which rests solemnly on the peak of Nghia Linh Mountain. The place is dedicated to the worship of the Hung Kings. The complex is also a venue for the Hung Temple Festival from the 1st to 10th days of the 3rd lunar month, or from April 14 to 23 on this year’s solar calendar.
The complex includes the Ha Temple and Pagoda, Gieng Temple, Trung and Thuong Temples, and Hung Kings Tomb built in the 15th century. The site is one of the oldest relics in Vietnam that started construction in the tenth century under the Dinh Tien Hoang Dynasty and was completed in the 15th century under the Post-Le Dynasty.
From the main entrance, tourists can see a range of hills from the Phuc Loc to Tham Thinh mountainous hamlets that resemble 99 dragons worshipping the father land and protecting the temples. From the foot of the mountain to the gate are about 225 stone steps to reach the Ha and Thien Quang Tu temples. Legend has it that Au Co Mother gave birth to 100 children there and that the oldest boy became King Hung Vuong who set up his capital at Phong Chau and named the country Van Lang.
At the foot of the mountain is Gieng (Well) Temple honoring Princess Tien Dung and Princess Ngoc Hoa, daughters of the eighteenth King Hung. Just over a hundred steps above is Thuong Temple where King Hung hosted a ceremony to pray for rain and a good harvest. Here, tourists see many artifacts of the Hung Kings through the time of stone, bronze and iron which are on display at a nearby museum.
The top of Nghia Linh Mountain offers a panoramic view of the majestic landscapes, Viet Tri City, Huy Cuong Village, Thao River, Lo River and the alluvial Red River flowing silently through the region.
Coming to the sanctuary for the festival is a chance to join solemn rituals as well as animated festivities including traditional music and dance shows, craft exhibitions, boat races on Lo River, glutinous rice cake making contests and fireworks.
At the entrance to the complex, tourists can purchase indigenous specialties of Phu Tho Province and many kinds of local cakes.
A tour of the Hung Kings Temple Complex is an education on the local people and their traditions and gives an insight into the building and protecting of the nation from its dawn.
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