The largest pagoda complex in Vietnam, Bai Dinh Pagoda, is located at Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District in the northern province of Ninh Binh, 95 kilometers south of Hanoi. Even though it is still under construction, with expected date of completion in 2010 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long or Hanoi, it is still attracting a large number of pilgrims and tourists.
The pagoda complex is being built in a hilly region near the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda which was established by monk Nguyen Minh Khong (1065-1141) who turned the caves of the 200-meter high Bai Dinh Mountain into the pagoda. According to feng-shui theory, the pagoda, with its back leaning on Bai Dinh Mountain and its front looking down the Hoang Long River, has a very good location. Moreover, with the location site being far from any residential area in a hilly region covered with green old trees attracting nesting birds, the new pagoda has a quiet and peaceful atmosphere and gives visitors a tranquil feeling.
The pagoda complex stretches over 100 hectares with three temples (past, present, future), Tam The, Phap Chu and the temple to honor the goddess of mercy, and one bell tower. The length from the gate to the highest temple of Tam The is 800 meters. Running from low to high are two corridors of houses, placing 500 arahats at a height of over two meters.
Bai Dinh is also famous for its record-breaking works, such as the three statues of Buddha in the past, present and future weighing 50 tons per statue in Tam The temple, a Buddha statue weighing 100 tons in Phap Chu temple and two bells weighing 36 tons and 27 tons.
The pagoda, which is only five kilometers away from two popular tourism destinations of co do Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam from 968 to 1010 and the Trang An cave area, could become the center for tourism of Ninh Binh Province when it is completed.