Ta-Ku Mountain: 11 steps of Buddhism or 49 steps to self-knowledge
Located just an hour southeast of the town of Phan Thiet and possessing special magic, Ta Cu Mountain is one of the must-see places in the area.
The mountain itself, which is 694 meters high, is a kind of Buddhist prayer center with an upper pagoda (Linh Sơn Trường Thọ) and a lower one (Long Đoàn), as well as a statue of Buddha. This is the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia, pilgrims of all countries strive to see and touch it.
A bit of history
In 1870-1880, a Buddhist monk led a group of believers who began building the upper pagoda. After his death, the followers built the lower part, and the lying Buddha – already in 1958. Vietnamese Truong Dinh Tri and did not expect that his creation will become the unofficial name of the mountain. The height of the statue is 11 meters, which means 11 steps of Buddhism, and the length of 49 meters is also symbolic and speaks of 49 steps on the way to self-knowledge.
How to climb a mountain
To get from the foot of the mountain to the summit is possible in two ways:
- 1) independently, which will take 1.5-2 hours;
- 2) use the funicular, which will lift you in 10 minutes up to a distance of 2290 meters.
Initially, when the pagoda was only built, all the monks and pilgrims climbed to the top solely on foot. They paved the way among the forest, overgrown with huge trees, lianas and inhabited by monkeys.
The way of the monks was difficult, because the height of the mountain is 694 meters, and the ascent is quite steep. The staircase is now not preserved; only the destroyed stone steps, twisted by the roots of trees, have remained of it.
From my own experience of climbing, I can say: when you walk half the road, a second wind opens, fatigue disappears, and the path itself turns into an adventure. You can climb the creepers, see the monkeys and enjoy the view through the trees on the fields planted with rice.
The average temperature at the top of the mountain ranges between 18 and 22 ° C, which is a kind of reward at the end of the journey. But because of the temperature difference, the stones in the forest are covered with moisture, and you should be extremely careful when you go back down.
Pagoda and reclining buddha
When you get to the top, be sure to enjoy the view and be ready for a new ascent.
To get to the Buddha, you have to go a thousand steps. Before the foot steps on the first step, be sure to make the most cherished wish. According to Vietnamese belief, if you repeat it until the end of the journey, it will come true. Honestly, I followed the advice, and literally in the same month my wish came true. Whether it is a coincidence or whether the mountain really has magical power is up to you. I made my choice and am grateful for this grief.
On your way you will pass the lower pagoda with three statues of the Buddha and an open observation deck. Here you can buy water, ice cream or use the toilet.
Having risen a little more, you will find yourself in that unique atmosphere, because of which the trip is conceived. Touch the miracle, stop the internal dialogue and focus on the sensations, the energy that is all around. Even despite the crowds of loud Chinese tourists, there is peace in the whole body.
In conclusion of the trip, going down to the foot of the mountain, you can leisurely stroll through the park, taste food in the adjacent restaurants, or buy from the local grandmas bani (Vietnamese hot dog with meat, spicy carrots, greens and sauces). And think about how many years ago, monks, without comfortable shoes, in the heat, with stones on their shoulders, climbed the mountain to build this splendor. They did not even imagine that hundreds of years later, guests from all over the world would come here to enjoy the fruits of their work and touch the history.