The central part of the religious complex is the Huong Tich cave, where the main pagoda is, the Perfume Temple (which is also called Chua Trong, Inner Temple). The entrance to the cave resembles the mouth of a dragon with Chinese characteristics. A dragon means "power" in Asian cultures.
There is at the entrance also an inscription "Nam Thien De Nhat Dong", meaning "the main cave under the southern sky" and dates from 1770. The words are attributed to one of the rulers of the time Thinh Do Vuong Trinh Sam.
Inside the cave or temple are numerous statues. There is a huge statue of Buddha and Quan Am, both made of a green stone.
The Quan Am left leg is stretched and the bottom is a lotus, her right leg is bent and is supported by a lotus flower with leaves; a hand ia holding a pearl.
There are also images of Arhats (holy men) and various figures. In the cave are many stalactites and stalagmites, some of which have become slippery over the years, as the visitors there have been to.
Other temples in the Chua Huong complex Thien Son Pagoda, Thuyet Kinh Grotto, Phat Tich Temple and Vong Temple.
Inside the Perfume Pagoda
From a travel blog:
"The bus ride is long from Hanoi but the boat ride on the river is very pleasant. We had been told that the walk up to the pagoda was difficult so we paid the extra for the cable car. Don't let them kid you; the walk up to the cable car and the walk down to the cave are probably the worst parts. There are tons of stairs to climb and they are uneven and became quite slippery when it was raining. I don't think the pagoda is worth the trouble but the boat ride there was very peaceful. We were warned by our tour guide to not tip the boat rowers until you got on shore because if they don't think that you tipped enough, they will not bring you back to shore! We were told that 20,000VND per person was an appropriate tip. We gave 50,000 as a couple and she still wanted more. Also, the ride down the river is very peaceful and it would have been a lot more peaceful if the rowers were not talking to each other across the boats for alot of the trip. Their chatter tended to ruin the peacefulness"