Yen Tu Festival, which is held at the Yen Tu historical relic and landscape area, northern Quang Ninh province, from the tenth day of the Lunar New Year through the end of the third lunar month, has become a big spring festival for Buddhists and tourists nationwide.
Located 1,068 metres above sea levels, Yen Tu Mountain has different names such as Tuong Son (Elephant Mountain), Bach Van (White Cloud), Phu Van Son (Floating Cloud) and Linh Son (Holy Mountain).
The Yen Tu historical relic and landscape area encompasses Thuong Yen Cong Commune and Phuong Dong Ward in the north-west of Uong Bi City, Quang Ninh Province.
In the 13th century, King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308), the third king of the Tran dynasty (1225-1400), abdicated the throne when he was 35 and spent the rest of his life on Yen Tu Mountain, practising Buddhism.
At the end of the Ly dynasty (1009-1225) and the beginning of the Tran dynasty, Yen Tu was a Buddhist worship venue for many monks like Hien Quang, Vien Chung, Dai Dang, Tieu Dao and Hue Tue.
When Tran Nhan Tong practised Buddhism on the mountain, he founded the first Vietnamese School of Buddhism called “Thien Tong,” Viet Nam Zen Buddhism, turning the site into the capital of Vietnamese Buddhism.
During the past nearly 1,000 years, hundreds of pagodas and shrines have been built throughout the Yen Tu complex, including structures which boast thousands of prized statues and artefacts.
Yen Tu is also a museum of architecture and diverse fauna and flora. It has favourable conditions for research in history, spiritual culture, tourism potential, ecological environment, bio diversity and gene protection.
The complex is a demonstration of interactions between human beings and nature, reflecting the uninterrupted residence of people, especially Buddhists, for thousands of years.
Yen Tu also witnessed Viet Nam’s struggles against invaders from the north and the west, becoming a symbol of Viet Nam’s independence and self-mastery.
With its significant historical, cultural and natural values, Yen Tu was recognised as a Special National Relic Site in September 2012. It was also selected as one of the 10 most popular spiritual destinations in Viet Nam by the Viet Nam Records Organisation.
The website of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) included Yen Tu relic in the list of nominated heritage.