Con Son is more and more beautiful thanks to frequent restoration and embellishment.
The more and more beautiful Con Son relic is attractive to sightseers
With the new look, the relic site has become a spiritual destination repeatedly visited by many tourists.
Amazing scenery in front of pagoda
At the beginning of the 8th lunar month, when the 2018 Con Son – Kiep Bac Autumn Festival was yet to take place, the number of visitors coming here for sightseeing and worshipping was greater than normal days.
Stepping through the entrance of Con Son pagoda, Tran Thi Minh Nguyet and her husband from Thai Binh city were amazed by the scenery in front of their eyes.
"Previously, this place was full of low-roofed shops and there were neither gardens nor beautiful ornamentals like these," said Nguyet.
"I don't know when that three-door gate was built but it is very beautiful and creates a highlight.
"I was very surprised since this place is much more beautiful than five years ago when we first arrived."
Nguyet's surprise is the common feeling of many people returning to Con Son this autumn. Meanwhile, first-time visitors are interested in contemplating the beautiful scenery in a sacred space.
A French tourist stopping off at Con Son relic site during a tour from Ha Noi to Quang Ninh said: "You have a very wonderful sightseeing area with works and objects of great value. I like the fresh and beautiful nature and pure air of this place."
The look of Con Son relic site has been changing in line with a freshly-approved master plan.
Last June, the Con Son – Kiep Bac Relic Management Board socialized the dismantlement of the storehouse and the old kitchen and the leveling of about 3,000 m2 of land.
There, a drainage system and surrounding flower walls were built; pine trees, ngu sac flowers (Lantana camara), peonies, rose moss, Japanese grass, etc. were grown in plots; etc. At present, the flowers are blooming and giving off their fragrance, making visitors more elated.
Earlier, the provincial authorities directed the displacement of 105 service shops and restaurants to the area next to the coach station to return clearness and tranquility to the pagoda.
The old soil foundations of the shops and restaurants were concreted, parterres were built, more trees were planted, and stone benches were placed for tourists to stop for a short while.
Especially, the provincial authorities invested in restoring the bell and drum tower 13.6 m long and 8.1 m wide with five compartments and a two-tier roof.
The pagoda yard behind the bell and drum tower was repaired, two corridors were built (each of which consists of 18 compartments 3.9 m wide), forming a noi cong ngoai quoc structure (inner and outer works resemble the shapes of Chinese characters 工 and 國, respectively).
The works both bear Buddhist artistic value and fit the general landscape and architecture of Con Son pagoda.
Besides the restoration of many major works, the precinct of Con Son pagoda has also been cleaned, neatly planned, decorated with more ornamentals, flags, lanterns, a lighting system, etc. All of them have contributed to making the pagoda's space more brilliant and sacred.
Disordered shops in Con Son relic area have been replaced with flower gardens and ornamentals
Visiting Con Son in 1965, Uncle Ho recommended Hai Duong officials and people to turn the relic into a beautiful pagoda and a tourist attraction of the locality.
Following the teaching of Uncle Ho, since 1994, the provincial authorities have restored and prevented the degradation of a series of items at Con Son like the three-door gate, ancestral and stele houses, Huyen Quang tower, front and central chambers, the bell tower, Ngoc well, the foundation of Nguyen Trai's house, roads to Thanh Hu Dong, Thach Ban, etc.
From 2000 to 2015, Nguyen Trai and Tran Nguyen Dan temples, a stele house on the foundation of Nguyen Trai's house, the road to Ngu Nhac, the left house, the right corridor of Con Son pagoda, Thau Ngoc bridge, Thanh Hu Dong, etc. were restored, embellished, and built.
Since 2015, the bell and drum tower, the left corridor of Con Son pagoda, and the precinct of the relic site have been restored and embellished.
The restoration and embellishment have contributed to preserving and promoting the cultural, historical, and architectural value of the relic site, enhancing its aesthetic value and use function, developing tourism, etc., according to Nguyen Thi Thuy Lien, Head of the Con Son – Kiep Bac Relic Management Board.
At present, Con Son is still lacking a number of works compared to the ancient pagoda recorded in history and stele inscriptions.
Therefore, late last August, the Relic Management Board continued to report its plan to restore Ngoc well and the worshipping gazebo of Avalokitesvara on the basis of science and archaeological excavation results to the provincial authorities and the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
According to the plan, agreed to by the Department of Heritage (Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism), the old Ngoc well will be dismantled and restored with green monolith to measure 0.7 m in height, 0.45 m in width, 1.76 m in inner diameter, and 2.66 m in outer diameter. Chrysanthemum festoons, lotus petals, and water waves will be carved on the well wall. The well ground will cover an area of 100 m2 and paved with green stones.
The worshipping gazebo of Avalokitesvara will be 9.05 m high with a four-sided two-tiered roof. The gazebo will consist of three compartments, the middle one will be 3.7 m wide and the two others will measure 1.9 m in width. There will be a statue of Avalokitesvara sitting in religious ecstasy on a lotus flower in the middle compartment.
"If the plan is approved, we will restore these relics after this year's Con Son – Kiep Bac Autumn Festival," said Lien.