CAO DAI HOLY SEE

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The lavish temple of the Cao Dai religion that includes Buddha, Mohammed, Joan of Arc, và Victor Hugo.

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Painting showing Sun Yat Sen, Victor Hugo, and Nguyen Binc Khiem Theresa Meier (Theresa Meier (used with permission))
Tay Ninh, 90 km outside of Saigon, is in many ways a typical Vietnamese provincial đô thị — surrounded by rice fields và choked with motorcycle traffic. But it has one very particular clayên lớn fame — a spectacular temple that is the headquarters of the Cao Dai movement, a religion founded in 1926 claiming millions of Vietnamese adherents.

Cao Dai temples are common and easily distinguishable by their bright colors and carved ornamentation, but Tay Ninh’s “Holy See” is easily the most impressive sầu. The vaulted mosque-lượt thích pillars và multicolored pagodas represent the religion’s beliefs: that many great spiritual figures from the East và West such as Lao Tzu, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Jesus, Sun Yat Sen, Nguyen Binch Khiem, Joan of Arc và Victor Hugo, were prophets of the same universal truth.

Until the 1970s, Cao Dai was a potent political force. Religious leaders commanded their own army và enjoyed the right to tax local people (thus funding the 1935 construction of this lavish Hollywood-meets-the-Orient temple). But the Communists stripped them of those powers and these days the Tay Ninch Holy See draws only white-clad pilgrims và busloads of curious tourists, who come to lớn watch the daily mass. The past political persecution of the Cao Daoists is evidenced by the trap door exit at the back of the altar.

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The ceremony features singing and a procession of colorfully-dressed priests who tệp tin around a giant orb painted with a single eye, representing the heart & the spirit of God. At the temple’s entrance, a scroll shows Nguyen Binc Khiem (a Vietnamese poet), Sun Yat Sen (first president of China), & Victor Hugo (French author of such books as “Les Misérables”) receiving a message from God.


Know Before You Go

The Holy See is located 4 km east of the centre of Tay Ninch. Tours are easy to lớn arrange from Ho Chi Minh thành phố. Please be respectful of the ongoing religious ceremony, bởi not talk or make any noise & turn camera sounds to lớn a minimum.

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On this nine-day journey, we’ll explore Vietnam giới through its quality cuisine, tasting our way across north, central, & south Vietnam giới by way of steaming pork belly meatballs in Hanoi’s Old Quarter và the White rose dumplings of Hoi An.