Am Tien Grotto is located in the ancient capital and relic complex of Hoa Lu, where King Dinh Tien Hoang once raised tigers, built death row. This was also the place that Queen Duong Van Nga lead a religious life in the end of her life.
Am Tien Grotto is located in the ancient capital and relic complex of Hoa Lu, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province, about 10 km from the center of Ninh Binh city.
According to Dr. Nguyen Van Nhat (former Director of Institute of History), Am Tien Grotto on halfway up the mountain in the southeast area of outer citadel was where King Dinh raised tigers for punishment of the guilty. There was Giai Pond, where the king raised Giai (a rare species of soft shell turtle) to kill sinners by throwing them into the pond. There was also a Salt Cave, Money Cave ... where King saved food and treasury ...
After wearing the crown, King Dinh Tien Hoang made Truong Ma Ni a priest and then he and his son Truong Ma Son renovated the place into a death row to help the king rule the country.
Am Tien Grotto is surrounded by the mountains and created a separate world. The landscape here is majestic but possessed a melancholy and mystery color, seeming to still save remnants of the former death row.
The Great Vietnamese history book recorded: "King (Dinh Tien Hoang) want to conquer the country, so he laid a large cauldron in the palace’s yard, raised tigers in a cage, and ordered that ones who commit crime would be put into the cauldron oil, or be the food for tiger. "
Main part of Am Tien region is a submerged valley, surrounded by rocky cliffs. Legend has it that the King Dinh raised tiger here, and put those who were executed on. Whoever could escape will be exonerated.
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In order to get into the grotto, after crossing the gate, you have to go down a path in the left hand side, next to the large lake with lotus, water lily, fishes and turtles. The water here is specially blue, clear and bottom can be visible with moss. People said it was the pond that the Kign raised giant turtle.
Am Tien is at halfway up the mountain, to come here you have to climb over 205 stone steps over the cliff. Cave mouth is shaped like dragons so it’s called Dragon cave.
There’s the Am Tien Pagoda on the mountain. This is also where Queen Duong Van Nga spent her last years in the life to be a nun. With rugged terrain in a remote, less travelled place, Am Tien Grotto still contains many mysteries.
Source: Vietnam private tours