Thung Nham’s spiritual complex

Not satisfied with just being ‘Halong Bay on land,’ Ninh Binh is also the nation’s spiritual hub, making it the number one place to take on the rhythm of Vietnam’s religious scene. And while it is not as famous as some other places of worship across Vietnam, Thung Nham spiritual complex has the edge in atmosphere and the depth of history.

Table of contents

1. Thung Nham – The land of sacred stories

Religion and beliefs have been the driving force in Vietnamese history for a long time and while you are at Thung Nham, a visit to its spiritual complex may serve as an entry point into what has been governing the local lives for thousands of years.

And while it is not as famous as some other places of worship across Vietnam, Thung Nham spiritual complex has the edge in atmosphere and the depth of history.

2. Goi Dai Temple

One does not need to comprehend everything about Vietnamese culture – one of the oldest in Southeast Asia, to appreciate a temple. The various deities and rites may prove overwhelming at first but the journey to pick up a little connoisseurship is its own reward.

Goi Dai Temple – the name means ‘continuation of dynasties’ in Vietnamese, is one of thousands across Vietnam dedicated to tiger worship, Supreme Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh, her deities, and Saint Tran.

While no two temples are exactly alike, every house of worship in Vietnam usually follows one design outline. In the case of Goi Dai temple, a gate opens to a stone courtyard, at the front of which stands a spirit wall decorated with dragon motifs to block out evil beings.

The main building is situated at the back of the courtyard and features two stone carvings depicting sitting tigers, revered as powerful protectors, watching over the incoming worshippers. The heavily-decorated joss stick bowl fronting the temple is where devotees light incense and pray for good luck.

The temple’s back hall houses the altars of three incarnations of Supreme Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh, while ‘Ngu Vi Tien Ong’ or five Great Mandarins, and ‘Ba Ong Hoang’ – three Princes, sit enshrined in the front hall.

Vietnam is among the countries following Confucianism and thus, women have long been considered to play a subservient role. That is why Supreme Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh was invented. Born of Vietnamese women’s desire for independence and happiness, she is viewed as the creator and maintainer of human beings and the universe. These deities are believed to be good at answering prayers so devotees flock here to pay respect and wish for good luck, health, and prosperity.

The statue of Tran Hung Dao – a legendary war hero who successfully repelled invaders from the Mongol Empire, and the goddess supervising the temple are worshipped in the adjoining rooms to the right and left respectively.

Close by, ‘Ba Chua Son Trang’ – the goddess of mountains and forests is venerated in the shrine made up of three artificial hills sitting a short walk from Goi Dai temple. Before steering the region toward ecotourism, Doanh Sinh tourism service and trading joint-stock company intended to set up a farm so ‘Ba Chua Son Trang’ is worshipped here with the aspiration

3. Linh Than Shrine

Beneath the shade of the one-thousand-year-old banyan tree, Linh Than Shrine honors the life and celebrates the legacy of Viet Thang Lord – a general under Dinh Tien Hoang, the first emperor of the short-lived Dinh dynasty.

Having a millennia-old banyan tree beside it is praise enough. But it does not even begin to explain why Linh Than Shrine is the object of such enduring spiritual veneration. The shrine is home to an altar made out of five ancient stones upon which sit two antique joss stick bowls engraved with images of two confronting dragons with a flaming pearl in between. In Vietnamese culture, dragons are benevolent creatures and a pair of them facing each other symbolizes the balance of yin and yang – the two forces of the cosmos – referred to as the pearl floating between them.

But perhaps even more noteworthy is the man who commissioned the shrine. Hero cult, deeply rooted in Vietnam’s history of invasion, enjoys a particular status in the country’s religious system.

Local lore tells that Viet Thang Lord, after assisting his emperor in defeating twelve rebellious warlords, volunteered to guard the West Gate of the then capital city Hoa Lu. He was later enthroned as the local deity responsible for the welfare of the region’s inhabitants. The Lord forms a spiritual bond between the world of the living and the dead, a convenient fit with the country’s cult of ancestor worship.

Even for those who are not superstitious or religious, the shrine is worth a visit for its historical significance.

4. The Moving Banyan Tree

Thung Nham banyan tree has watched over this holy ground for over a millenia, standing witness to much of Vietnam’s history and withstanding the nation’s weather and climate extremes.

According to experts, the rotting primary trunk of a banyan tree is replaced by prop roots every 300 years, creating a new trunk a short distance away from the old one. And since Thung Nham Moving Banyan Tree has been around for over a thousand years, scientists estimated that it had taken three ‘steps’ around the sacred Linh Than Shrine under it.

While banyan trees tend to ‘move’ toward water sources, the one in Thung Nham circles the shrine instead of to the nearby lake, which, in the eyes of local religious devotees, is the proof that the land under it possesses sacred power.

            Through the thick and thin of the milenia, the tree has been the solemn guardian of the land and of so many pilgrims who have made a journey here to pay respect to the general worshiped at the shrine under its canopy.

The 1.000 year-old banyan tree

Imagine the scene. You are under the ancient tree that dates back a thousand years, overlooking serene Fairy Lake – home to tens of thousands of birds and tonnes of fish, and protecting the sacred land for centuries. The unique fragrances, views, and history of this holy area all come wonderfully together.

Các ưu đãi đang áp dụng
Đặt lịch online