Cao Dai Temple

Have you ever known about Cao Dai Temple

Cao Dai Temple or Holy See Temple in another word, founded in 1926, is 4km east of Tay Ninh in the village of Long Hoa. As well as the Great Temple, the complex houses administrative offices, residences for officials and adepts, and a hospital of traditional Vietnamese herbal medicine that attracts people from all over the south for its treatments.

What do you learn about Cao Dai Temple

The Cao Dai Temple clergy have no objection to visitors photographing temple objects, but do not photograph people without their permission, which is seldom granted. However, it is possible to photograph the prayer sessions from the upstairs balcony, an apparent concession to the troops of tourists who come here daily. It’s important that guests wear modest and respectful attire inside the temple, which means no shorts or sleeveless T-shirts.

Prayers are conducted four times daily in the Great Temple (suspended during Tet). It is worth visiting during prayer sessions (the one at noon is most popular with tour groups from Ho Chi Minh City) but do not disturb the worshippers. Only a few hundred adherents, dressed in splendid garments, participate in weekday prayers, but during festivals several thousand may attend.

A mural in the front entry hall of Cao Dai Temple depicts the three signatories of the ‘Third Alliance between God and Man’: the Chinese statesman and revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan; 1866–1925) holds an ink stone, while the Vietnamese poet Nguyen Binh Khiem (1492–1587) and French poet and author Victor Hugo (1802–85) write ‘God and humanity’ and ‘Love and justice’ in Chinese and French (Nguyen Binh Khiem writes with a brush, Victor Hugo uses a quill pen). Nearby signs in English, French and German each give a slightly different version of the fundamentals of Cao Daism.

Set above the front portico of the Great Temple is the ‘divine eye’. Lay women enter the Cao Dai Temple through a door at the base of the tower on the left. Once inside they walk around the outside of the colonnaded hall in a clockwise direction. Men enter on the right and walk around the hall in an anticlockwise direction. Hats must be removed upon entering the building. The area in the centre of the sanctuary is reserved for Cao Dai priests.

How Cao Dai Temple arranged?

The main hall is divided into nine sections by shallow steps, representing the nine steps to heaven, with each level marked by a pair of columns. Worshippers attain each new level depending on their years as Cao Dai adherents. At the far end of the sanctuary, eight plaster columns entwined with multicolored dragons support a dome representing the heavens. Under the dome is a giant star-speckled blue globe with the ‘divine eye’ on it.

The largest of the seven chairs in front of the globe is reserved for the Cao Dai pope, a position that has remained vacant since 1933. The next three chairs are for the three men responsible for the religion’s law books. The remaining chairs are for the leaders of the three branches of Cao Daism, represented by the colors yellow, blue and red.

On both sides of the area between the columns are two pulpits similar in design to the minbar in mosques. During festivals the pulpits are used by officials to address the assembled worshippers. The upstairs balconies are used if the crowd overflows.

Up near the altar are barely discernible portraits of six figures important to Cao Daism: Sakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism), Ly Thai Bach (Li Taibai, a fairy from Chinese mythology), Khuong Tu Nha (Jiang Taigong, a Chinese saint), Laotse (the founder of Taoism), Quan Cong (Guangong, Chinese God of War) and Quan Am (Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy).

The sacred temple of Cao Dai the Cu Chi Tunnels tour are two of the most visited attractions north of Ho Chi Minh City that you can combine to visit within 1 day. On this tour, visit both in one day — attend midday mass at Cao Dai Temple, enjoy a delicious Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant, and then venture underground to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

Highlights about this tour

  • Two top attractions on one tour: Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Delicious Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant
  • Save money on a group tour with entrance fees included
  • Hassle-free hotel pickup and round-trip transport from Ho Chi Minh City

How will tour be taken?

After pickup from your Ho Chi Minh City hotel, journey to Tay Ninh Province with your guide and group. Enjoy a tour of the magnificent Cao Dai Temple complex and even join the temple’s resident monks for midday mass to gain an insight into Vietnam’s unique Cao Dai religion. Stop for a typical Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant, before continuing to the Cu Chi Tunnels, one of the most impressive war sites in Vietnam. Follow your guide on a tour of the tunnels and learn how the Viet Cong used the more than 100-mile (200-kilometer) network of tunnels as war bunkers, ammunition stores, and command centers. You also have a chance to crawl through the tunnels, climb inside one of the camouflaged trapdoors, and taste common foods eaten by the Viet Cong soldiers. Your tour ends with drop-off at your Ho Chi Minh City hotel.

 

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