Vietnam’s unique religion and the center of its universe
The Holy See of Caodaism is in the southern province of Tay Ninh.
The religion of Caodaism was established in Tay Ninh. Cao Dai means “the highest power” and the religion is formally known as The Great Faith for the Third Universal Redemption.
Caodaism was founded in 1926 in this place, four kilometers east of Tay Ninh town. It’s a complex that includes a temple, residences for officials and followers, offices and a herbal medicine hospital that attracts many patients, especially from the south.
It took until 1955 to complete the construction of the Cao Dai Holy See, which spreads over 2,000 square meters and is 25 meters high.
The Holy See seen from above.
There are 12 entrances to the Holy See, and each has carvings and statues of dragons, lions, turtles, and phoenixes and a touch of lotus flowers. The largest entrance has two dragons on top guarding the gem.
Inside are two large gardens, so large that they look like mini forests. According to people here, these are oil and rubber trees that were there before the Holy See was even built. And, of course, thick vegetation like this must be a habitat for many animals, so fences were built for safety.
The central icon of Caodaism is an eye that cast a glow, representing the Supreme Deity. Caodaism also worships other deities like Buddha, Jesus, Confucius, and Guanyin. Their images can be seen at many places in the Holy See.
Visitors must leave their shoes outside when they enter the Holy See. The main entrance is not for visitors: male visitors take the right entrance and women, the left.
The Holy See’s interior is filled with stunning, colorful architecture with many details, especially the pillars with dragons on them. The ceiling represents the sky and stars.
A big orb in the main temple has 3,027 stars representing the universe. Visitors are not allowed to touch the orb.
Prayers are conducted four times daily, but visitors should go at noon for the biggest prayer session of the day. A few hundred adherents dressed in splendid garb participate in weekday prayers, but several thousand attend during festivals.
“Visitors can take pictures of anything here except the deities,” said Hai, a faithful.
In the afternoon, people come here for relaxation and tranquility.