Cao Dai Temple is one of the contribution of Vietnam to the world has been the religion Caodaista, religion that takes concepts from Buddhism, Christianitu, Hinduism, etc.
Cao Dai Temple is a curious and unique architecture building, mixture of Asian and European architectures, where what most noteworthy of its exterior are its vivid colors and shapes of roofs. It occupies an area of 100 hectares.
The whole complex is surrounded by a fence that protects the complex, with 12 gates. The largest of all door is normally closed and only open to make way for leaders and public personalities. The dimension of the Cao Dai Temple is 140 meters long, 40 meters wide and 36 meters high.
Runner which can be seen in the exterior is supported by 112 circular pillars. It consists of 4 towers which are named differently as Tam Đại, Hiệp Thiên Đài, Cửu Trùng Đài and Bát Quái Đài.
There are nine hierarchies of worship including a pope, cardinals and archbishop with festivals, rituals and prayer all practiced regularly. The temple is similar in design to a Christian Cathedral featuring side aisles and an altar, as well as a long central nave, all positioned as they would be in a Christian Church, there is even a high dome decorated with clouds and saints.
The main focal point is a Divine Eye symbolising God which has the Ying and Yang icon in its pupil. Ceremonies take place daily with two services accompanied by musicians and a choir singing in English to traditional Vietnamese music.
The architecture of the Cao Dai churches reflects the precepts of this syncretic religion, for example the 2 Belfries are unique to Christianity. At the top of the main façade we find the statue of Maitreya Buddha in the Lotus position. Shingles in red color and the pointy roofs are typical of Chinese architecture and Hinduism.
Cao Dai Temple Highlights
Worshippers at the Cao Dai Temple strive for world peace and harmony with beliefs steeped in a number of world religions. Followers must obey the five virtues of Confucianism – humanity, obligation, civility, knowledge and reliability and have belief in the Buddhist principles of rebirth and karma.
Watching Caodiasts pray is one of the major highlights when visiting the temple as they dress in long flowing robes of white for lay followers, yellow, blue or red for priests whilst bishops have the Divine Eye embroidered on their headpieces.
During worship men are seated on the right and women on the left with all devotees seated in orderly rows. The building is a combination of Neo-Gothic, Baroque and Oriental design and is very ornately decorated including dragon wrapped pillars, seven-headed cobras and ceilings of sky blue.
How to get there
The temple is best visited by booking a tour due to its location close to the Cambodian border, 100km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City in the Long Than village close to Tay Nihn.
Worship takes place every six hours and starts at midnight with chanting at 06:00 and 18:00 daily.
Visitors are permitted to watch from the galleries and may take photographs, knees must be covered and shoes removed before entering. Silence is requested when a service is taking place. The Cao Dai Temple is one of 1,000 Cao Dai Temples located in Vietnam.
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