There is a very renowned pagoda in a grotto (one of 3 most beautiful in Việt Nam) is pagoda Địch Lộng in Gia Thanh commune, Gia Viễn district, Ninh Bình province.
The grotto is said to be discovered in 1739 with plenty of stalagmites and stalactites that look very much like statues. So the locals set up altars for worships and it became pagoda in 1740.
The pagoda (also the grotto) is as large as a house of ten sections, (popularly each section is 15m2). There are Buddhist statues insides: arhat, guardian spirit… on stare altars on the front gate door, there are 6 Chinese characters inscribed “Nham Sơn động, Cổ Am tự” meaning Cổ Am pagoda and Nham Sơn grotto. Visitors and pilgrims to the pagoda have to climb up 105 stone -steps. This is a naturally made pagoda. In the pagoda, at one side, there is a big bronze bell (1,000kg heavy and over one meter tall) due to its lofty location and stalactites and stalagmites, when the wind blows in, it sounds like a giant flute in various melodies in the high sky as it’s named: Địch means a flute and Lộng means: windy, when striking at stalactites, it’s even sounds like drums and gongs. It’s said to be a musical band by the nature.
Visitors inside the grotto always feel as if to get lost in the wonderworld of stone stalactites and stalagmites and the figures change according to standing position and imaginations: elephants drinking water, tigers drinking from big vases, waiting elephants or hidden tigers, dancing phoenix or dragon blowing out water… Stones here seem to be personified. Each stone-wall looks as a painting, there is even a deep well with very cold water, a way upwards (to sky) and away downwards (to the hell).
The whole scene is a good harmonious combination of positive and negative, of music and painting, of poems and wonderland. The site is a good destination for everybody.
source : http://www.vtr.org.vn/vtr.php?ml=923&pid=463