Vietnam's pagoda pilgrimage gives hope to sick

14th Aug 2013

Thousands of visitors from near and far make the biannual pilgrimage to one of Vietnam's most celebrated cultural sites to pray for good luck and health for loved ones.

Chua Chan Mountain, which is south Vietnam's second highest mountain at 800 metres (2,624ft) above sea level, is home to a beautiful pagoda 600 metres (1,968ft) up.

Situated in Dong Nai Province's Xuan Loc Commune, it is conveniently positioned for visitors on city breaks about 130 kilometres (80.7 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City.

Some tourists can find it a real challenge to climb to the top.

But each January and July in the lunar calendar, thousands ascend hundreds of stairs to reach the pagoda to pray for good fortune and health for friends or relatives.

Along the stairway, shops greet visitors with a resting place.

Some offer rice pancakes and herbs to help ease weary and hungry visitors.

Faith tourists flock here on private journeys to savour the tranquillity of this jaw-dropping pagoda and a strange tree with one top and three roots in its centre where people pray to get rid of misfortune.

The mountain is a perfect place for religious recluses to hide from the world in their private and isolated temple.

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