Tay Ninh Holy See - a unique architectural work of Caodaism

Tay Ninh Holy See - a unique architectural work of Caodaism

Tay Ninh 15.10.2021

As a prominent spiritual site, Tay Ninh Holy See attracts visitors thanks to its unique architecture. When coming here, you will be able to understand more about a kind of religion which was formed in Vietnam in the early 20th century.

Translated by nguyendo

Written by trangnt

Tay Ninh Holy See - the origin of Caodaism

Tay Ninh Holy See, also known as Holy Temple, is a religious work of the Cao Dai religion located in Hoa Thanh district, which is about 5.5km southeast of Tay Ninh city. The Holy See is the birthplace of the Cao Dai religion as well as the headquarters of the congregation.

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Tay Ninh Holy See, also known as Holy Temple, is a religious work of Cao Dai religion. Photo: @nguyen.duy_95

Master Thai Co Thanh (Nguyen Ngoc Tho) started building the Holy See’s foundation in 1931, but due to financial difficulties, the work was later postponed. In 1935, Master Le The Vinh raised funds from the believers to have enough money to construct the Hiep Thien Dai building as well as its roof. In 1936, Master Pham Cong Tac called for enough money to proceed with the construction for the next four years. Later, the construction was interrupted due to the French colonial effects and Pham Cong Tac was even arrested. By 1947, the construction and decoration of the Holy See had been completed, but the inauguration took place in 1955.

The impressive architecture of Tay Ninh Holy See

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Tay Ninh Holy See has a total area of more than 2,000m2 with wide roads connecting the works together. Photo: Vnexpress

Tay Ninh Holy See has a total area of more than 2,000m2 with wide roads connecting the works together. Its campus has nearly 100 different large and small architectural works which are built with bamboo-reinforced concrete - a combination of modern techniques and traditional Vietnamese materials.

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The entrance to Tay Ninh Holy See seen from above. Photo: youvivu.com

The silhouette of Tay Ninh Holy See stands out with two 25m-high towers of bells and drums. In addition, there is a symbol of Thien Nhan (Heaven's Eye) representing the supreme eye and power of God. At the same time, this religion also utilises images of Buddha Guan Yin, Buddha Shakyamuni, Lao Tzu, Jesus and Confucius in many places around the Holy See, especially on the main door.

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The silhouette of Tay Ninh Holy See stands out with two 25m-high towers of bells and drums. Photo: vnexpress.net

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The image of Thien Nhan on the front of the Holy See. Photo: vnexpress.net

The interior architecture of Tay Ninh Holy See is extremely unique, all the pillars are meticulously carved with colourful dragons and phoenixes, making the space brighter and distinctive from the features of sadness found in other religious works.

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All the pillars are meticulously carved with colourful dragons and phoenixes. Photo: dulich.petrotimes

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A close-up of dragon motifs on the pillars. Photo: dulich.petrotimes

The main hall of the Holy See is the place to worship Thien Nhan. The most unique thing inside the place is a large item called “Can Khon” simulating Polaris with 3,027 small stars on the face representing 3,027 globes. In addition, on the ceiling are nine areas of beautiful clouds and stars. Notably, you are not allowed to sightsee and take photos from the center of the hall, instead, you can only admire the interior from both sides.

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Tay Ninh Holy See worships Thien Nhan - a sacred symbol of Caodaism. Photo: vnexpress

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On the ceiling are nine areas of beautiful clouds and stars. Photo: @caodaitv

In particular, on the windows around the main hall, there are mysterious Thien Nhan, around which are carved with patterns of lotus flowers that are a typical feature of the Orient.

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In particular, on the windows around the main hall, there are mysterious Thien Nhan, around which are carved with patterns of lotus flowers that are a typical feature of the Orient. Photo: @xiao.xiu.xiu

In the campus of the Holy See, there are also two lush gardens with a lot of rubber trees and castor oil plants which were all planted a long time ago. In addition to admiring the unique architecture of the Holy See, you will be able to enjoy the green, airy and fragrant space.

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In the campus of the Holy See, there are also two lush gardens with a lot of rubber trees and castor oil plants. Photo: Vnexpress

Some notes for those visiting Tay Ninh Holy See

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Photo: @levantam_danang

- The opening hour of Tay Ninh Holy See: 8am - 5pm.

- At 12pm, there is a special ceremony for Caodaists only.

- Remember to leave your shoes outside, wear polite clothes, and avoid noise and disorder.

- You are not allowed to take photos with Thien Nhan.

- You have to enter the main hall from two doors on both sides - the left door for women while the right door for men.

- You can take pictures in the outside areas and can ask permission to go upstairs to take a panoramic photo of Tay Ninh Holy See.

The best time to visit Tay Ninh Holy See

You should visit Tay Ninh on the full-moon day of lunar January (around mid-February of the solar calendar) and Mid-Autumn Festival (around mid-September of the solar calendar). During this time, there are major festivals of the year, so Tay Ninh Holy See is beautifully decorated. In addition, you can visit the place in the period from May to November (the dry season) with little rain, which is very convenient for traveling.

The main Mass of Tay Ninh Holy See is around 12pm and you can visit this place at this time to better understand the religious culture of Caodaism.

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You can visit the place in the period from May to November (the dry season) with little rain, which is very convenient for traveling. Photo: bestprice.vn

Directions to Tay Ninh Holy See

If you are in Hanoi, you can take a plane to Tan Son Nhat airport in Saigon with a ticket price of VND 1.5 - 3 million, from which you can take a bus to Tay Ninh province with a distance of about 100km and a ticket price of VND 80,000 - 150,000. When arriving in Tay Ninh city, you can take a motorbike taxi or taxi to the destination with a distance of about 5.5km.

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Directions from Tay Ninh city to Tay Ninh Holy See. Photo: Google Maps

Tay Ninh Holy See is an outstanding architectural work of Tay Ninh province. When coming here, you can not only admire the unique design but also learn about Caodaism which is a monotheistic religion formed in Vietnam.