From afar, the mountain looks like an elephant in a prone position in the middle of lush green rice fields. When reaching the site, it seems that all the suffocating heat waves of summer are left aside, as right behind and to the left of the gate is an immense lake. Along the lead-in gravel path are two rows of ancient trees, under which visitors may take leisure walks or just walk straight in to the cave. The trees are reflected on the lake surface and their canopies flutter as if they were telling visitors fairy tales about this land.

The lake takes the shape of a large fish with its head right in front of the cave while its back curls up along the Hoang Xa Mountain. The special feeling visitors get when setting their feet on the site is about the wind. Wind is everywhere, mildly touching the lake surface, wuthering through the canopies, and strongly blowing towards the cave. It might be the wind that resulted in the construction of a Windy Pavilion on an islet in the middle of the lake. The pavilion is connected with the land with a crescent-shaped tile bridge.

The opening of the cave

At the end of the path passing the Windy Pavilion is a large opening of the cave. The cave does not dig deep into the mountain, but has a high ceiling and wide space. The arch of the cave makes it look like an upside-down bowl. The highest point of the cave is more than 50m. There are three natural holes illuminating the whole cave; therefore, there’s no need for visitors to turn on their lights like in other caves.

Thanks to the sunlight, visitors may enjoy the whole view of the cave. In the middle of the cave is a big flat stone. As legend goes, the stone serves as a chess board for deities from above to come down and play. It used to be a place for local children to come and study or relax in the quietness of the cave.

Deep inside the cave are natural stones in elephant shapes in various positions. On the ceiling and the walls of the cave are stalactites in the Buddha shape. The sunlight makes the stalactites look more splendid and fanciful and the chanting from Phap Hoa Pagoda next to the cave seems to take visitors to the nirvana.

Hoang Xa Cave and Mountain are part of the “Sixteen famous mountains” in Quoc Oai district, where a lot of famous scholars in the old days came to the site and left their autographs praising its beauty.

Translated by Huu Duong