Unique tourist sites in Tay Ninh

Published: 20/05/2011 05:00


Den Mount, Cao Dai Cathedral and Dau Tieng Reservoir are among the most famous
tourist attractions in the southern province
of Tay Ninh.

Den Mount, Cao Dai Cathedral and Dau Tieng Reservoir are among the most famous
tourist attractions in the southern province
of Tay Ninh.

Cao Dai Cathedral

The Tay Ninh or Cao Dai Cathedral is around 5km southeastern
from Tay Ninh town. This is a complex of religious works and also the Holy Land
of Caodaism.

Caodaism (Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do or Third Great Universal
Religious Amnesty) is a syncretic religion that had its beginnings in Vietnam,
then part of French Indo-China, in the 1920s. Its founder, Ngo Minh Chieu (or
Ngo Van Chieu), was a French civil servant and was also a mystic who was
well-versed in western and eastern religions. In 1919 he began receiving
revelations about the truth of religions from God (Caodai) that told him to
combine the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism,
Christianity, Islam and other religions into one religion to promote peace. In
1926 he revealed his séances to the public as a new belief system. It soon
became quite popular.

There are a number of important figures in the Cao Dai
pantheon. The major saints are Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen, the 19th
century French writer Victor Hugo and the 16th century Vietnamese
poet Nguyen Binh Khiem. Lesser dignitaries who have manifested themselves in
séances include notables such as Joan of Arc, Descartes, V. I. Lenin, William
Shakespeare, and Winston Churchill. The organizational structure roughly
follows that of the Roman Catholic Church with a pope, cardinals, bishops and
priests. There are several million practitioners in (mostly southern) Vietnam
and perhaps over a thousand temples, mostly in the Mekong Delta.

The Cao Dai Cathedral or the Great Temple
- Holy See, is the center of the sect. It was constructed between 1933 and

The Great
Temple is 140m long and
40m wide. It has 4 towers each with a different name: Tam Dai, Hiep Thien Dai,
Cuu Trung Dai, and Bat Quai Dai. The interior of the temple consists of a
colonnaded hall and a sanctuary. The 2 rows of columns are decorated with
dragons and are coated in white, red, and blue paint. The domed ceiling is
divided into 9 parts similar to a night sky full of stars and symbolizing
heaven. Under the dome is a giant star-speckled blue globe on which is painted
the Divine Eye, the official symbol of Caodaism.

Some pictures of the cathedral from Asian Historical Architecture:

Entry sign into the compound of the Cao Dai Great Temple.

View of the temple.

Closer view of the temple.

Front entry to the temple.

View of right side of temple.

Window with ’divine eye’ (in a cosmic field), the official
symbol of the religion.

Steps near right rear tower.

Lion-like animal along stair.

View from rear of temple.

View of ’left’ side of building, showing multi-tiered roof,
central and front towers.

A few of the outbuildings.

Close-up of entry sign: women enter on the left, men on the right under the two towers.

Sign depicting the ’Three Saints’ of Caodaism, Sun Yat-sen,
Victor Hugo and Nguyen Binh Khiem.

A painting at the entry depicting the ’Third Alliance
Between God and Man’ with Sun Yat-sen to the left,

Victor Hugo and the
Vietnamese poet Nguyen Binh Khiem.

View of the inside of the temple showing the various levels
reflecting the nine steps to heaven.

Dragon pillars.

View toward rear of temple.

View toward rear with male pulpit to left of slide and
female pulpit to right.

Three divines at rear of temple standing on lotus flowers
with a seven headed serpents:

Their Holinesses (from left) Thuong Pham, Ho Phap
and Thuong Sanh.

View toward front and Inner Sanctuary.

Symbols on ceiling representing the many instruments of
communication that have connected

earth and heaven across the millennia.

Pediment fronting blue curtain that defines Inner Sanctuary.
With representations of the Divine Agents

, including Sakyamuni Buddha, Lao Tzu,
Confucius and Jesus Christ.

Inner Sanctuary with its twelve steps. On a large octagonal
base rests

the all-seeing and all-knowing Divine Eye, the symbol of Cao Dai or
Supreme Spirit.

Altar in Inner Sanctuary.

Three of the eight dragon pillars enclosing the Inner

Detail of one of the dragon pillars in front of symbolic red

which, with the blue and yellow curtains divides the Inner Sanctuary
from the rest of the temple.

Part of funerary procession entering the temple.

Part of funerary procession.

Part of service.

Procession leaving the temple.

Procession leaving the temple.

Preparation for noontime service.

Noontime service.

Worshippers during service.

Priests in colorful robes: the red robes symbolize
Confucianism, the blue robes

Taoism and the yellow robes Buddhism, or they
symbolize three branches of Cao Daiism.

Horse and rider on the grounds.

Dau Tieng Reservoir

Dau Tieng Reservoir is located on the way to Cao Dai
Cathedral and Ba Den Mountain, 20km from Tay Ninh town.

Dau Tieng reservoir is the largest hydraulic system in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
It was built in 1980 and operated in 1984, with its storage of 1.58 billion m3
and water surface area of 27,000 ha.

Dau Tieng Reservoir’s beautiful landscape of mountains, its
mysterious islets, and its fresh and pure atmosphere shall give visitors an
agreeable feeling. Visitors shall also appreciate the cooking specialties of the

Ba Den Mountain

Ba Den Mountain is located 11km northeast of Tay Ninh town.
It is a famous complex of cultural, historical and beautiful sites covering an
area of more than 24km2.

The complex includes three mountains: Heo, Phung and Ba Den,
of which the 986m-high Ba Den is the highest peak in the south.

Ba Den Mountain is also called Black Lady Mountain. According to legends,
beautiful Ly Thi Thien Huong, Black Lady, was forced to marry the son of a rich
mandarin while she fell in love with a poor man who was fighting the
aggressors. Rather than marrying a man she did not love, she threw herself from
the mountain. Several shrines and pagodas were built in the mountain as well as
in the caves. Ba and Hang Pagodas attract many pilgrims during the New Lunar
Year and Vu Lan Festivals.

There are three ways to reach Ba Temple. If you go on foot,
it takes you over one hour to arrive at the destination. Cable cars take you 20
minutes to cover a distance of 1200m. The sliding system includes two lines
going upward and downward, 1190m and 1700m in length respectively.

Ba Den Mountain was where the headquarters of the liberation
force of South Vietnam
were located. During war time, many tough battles were fought in that area.

Ma Thien Lanh

Located at Tay Ninh town less than 30 minutes drive, is
covered by Big mountain (also called Lady mountain), Phung mountain and Heo
mountain, Ma Thien Lanh appear as a group of toponymic place created by the
Tiger cave, gold spring, stone cellar …

Start from the foot of the mountain, sitting on car you can
enjoy the wonderful scenery as Da Lat because there are hillside and valley on
2 sides. Stop the car at the end of the path, visitor skirting crooked stone
steps beside the poetic golden spring to step up to the Tiger cave.

However, there are many legends about the birth of this cave
but whatever, this place also acknowledged the respect of local people for a
mysterious belief. From above look down, tourist can easily identify the
secular Bodhi tree rising up on big flat stones. From the highest peak of the
highest mountain in the plain, we can spread the eye-shot observing throughout
surrounding areas, with the fields look like a chessboard from above with Dau Tieng
Lake as a sparkling

When passing the erect ramps, old bamboo forest, a cool
steam from small cave will make us feel extremely refresh, up to the top,
wavering dew looked virtual and romantic as Sapa.

In the afternoon, if anyone is still attached to the wild
and tranquility of this place, please do not leave quickly and spend the night
in the row of luxury guest-houses are raised in Ma Thien Lanh.

That is interesting if you catch mountain snails in person,
angle mountain lizard to show your cooking skill.

Go back the path to the foot of the mountain, a modern and
stature shooting area will be opened to help us to entertain with hunting. Arch
road will also help visitor easily pass the other side of mountain mouth;
continue the journey conquering from the eastern foot of the mountain to the
top Lady shrine and group of pagodas and temples.


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