We had never heard of Cao Dai Temple until we bought our tour tickets to Cu Chi Tunnels. So we goggle searched it right away and when we looked at the pictures we became curious and decided to visit the place. Personally, this is one of the reasons why I love traveling – I get to discover cultures and customs that are so different from what I accustomed to.
Cao Daiism is a relatively recent religion that is unique to Vietnam as it is a new fusion religion combining other religious groups including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, etc. It focuses on moral and ethical practices such as prayer, nonviolence, honoring of forefathers, etc. I have also learned that Victor Hugo (a French writer), Confucius, Joan of Arc, and Sun Yat-Sen (the Chinese republican hero from 20th century) are among their revered saints.
This Cao Dai Temple is located 90 km away from Ho Chi Minh City (about 2 hours by bus from the city centre), in a typical Vietnamese provincial city, Tay Ninh. Cao Daiism was founded in 1926 in Vietnam and has about 6 million followers.
We arrived in the place just in time to witness and enjoy the main service at midday. The temple is amazing. We stood on the balcony on the 2nd floor and looked at the service from above since only priests and pilgrims (majority were elderly people) were allowed in the service area. I noticed that Cao Dai priests wore a robe in three principal colors of Cao Dai: Red for Christianity, Blue for Taoism and Yellow for Buddhism while the pilgrims wore white. Indeed, the ceremony was nice to see.
Furthermore, I loved the bright lively colors of the Temple’s exterior and especially the extravagantly decorated interior. I like the symbols, images of saints and abstract designs. The floor tiles have busy patterns and the high ceiling is painted sky-blue. I have learned that their most important symbol is the Divine Eye, which represents that God witnesses everything everywhere.
This lavish and spectacular temple of Cao Dai Religion attracts thousands of pilgrims, believers, and tourists who come to experience this wonderful service and interiors. Certainly, it was an awesome visit and well worth the journey.
Little Lilly travel tip:
- The visitors are asked to come modestly dressed.
Have you been to Cao Dai Temple? What did you like best there?