Ba Thien Hau Temple - the oldest temple in Saigon
- on Jan 16, 2019       By: LucyH
Amidst the modern and vibrant Saigon urban life, there are traditional colors and ancient beauty of Ba Thien Hau temple. This 250-year-old temple is a sacred place in the middle of Saigon for praying and begging for peace.
Explore Ba Thien Hau Temple in Saigon
Address at 710 Nguyen Trai, District 5, the temple was built in the 18th century by Chinese people, one of the holy places attracts a lot of tourists when coming to Saigon. Every Tet holiday, people come to burn the incense and pray for a peaceful new year.
The exact name of this place is Thien Hau Mieu which literally means a shrine for worshiping Thien Hau. The place is also called Ba Thien Hau Pagoda. People say that, Thien Hau Temple has a great influence on the cultural life of the Chinese community (Chinatown) living in Saigon. It has existed for 258 years but it still retains the culture root as it’s always been at first which makes Thien Hau Temple more and more attractive to both domestic and foreign tourists.
Although there are many other temples and pagodas around, this place always attracts a lot of people and tourists from all over the world to do good deeds. In addition, this is also a favorite place for photographers to take photos of Tet with traditional Ao Dai.
Features in architecture of Ba Thien Hau Temple
If you are looking for a temple with a typical Chinese architecture with pure Asian architectural style, this is definitely the first choice. The pagoda was built in the style of Tam Quan gate which means three entrances (one main entrance and two other on the sides).
Thien Hau Temple is divided into three main places: Front-Temple, Mid-Temple and Main-Temple with worshiping places for the gods in Chinese history. The main hall is the main place of worship of Thien Hau Thanh Mau with the statue of Thien Mau carved from a striking wooden block amidst a very quiet, mysterious and sacred space. The temple is the place where God Phuc Duc Chanh is located (the earth goddess - the ruler of the land) and the God Mon Quan Vuong (God of the gates). Finally, the Mid-Temple with the oldest 130-year-old ancient censer that has meticulous and sophisticated sculptures.
Just entering the gate, visitors will be impressed by the quiet and dignified look of the temple. Throughout the temple is the main architectural part, where spiritual activities are organized. There was a space in the middle like an open-air well to take light and allow incense to fly up. The two sides of the walkway are separated so that visitors can go through easily, especially on full moon days when people come to the temple for praying the most.
In the middle of the main hall is the black wood statue of Thien Hau with the theme color is yellow and red from the clothes and the candlelight. Even if only once, you will also have a profoundly indescribable impression of that mysterious, impure look.
Another impressive point in the architecture of the temple is the roof. They are all harmonious and beautiful. If you look closely at each line, you will understand how subtle the feat is to have more admiration for the artists’ enthusiasm and talent.
The highlight of Ba Thien Hau temple is the unique hanging ring incense. Visitors can buy the ring incense, write down their wishes on paper, then hang up to beg to Thien Hau.
Another special point of the temple is that all materials are imported from China, from the woods to censer, from bas-reliefs to figurines. This partly shows that Lady Thien Hau Temple is very important in the life of Chinese people in Saigon.
Ba Thien Hau Temple Festival
In holidays such as Lunar New Year, Lantern Festival or the full moon every month, people as well as many tourists often go to Ba Thien Hau temple to pray for blessing and peace.
Some people came to pray for fortune, for grace, for talent, for peace, or for a lifetime safety with their family. Fragrant incense dissolves into nothingness, waving in the wind, bringing wishes from people’s heart to Lady Thien Hau.
In addition, the date of the Ba Thien Hau event held on March 23rd (Lunar Calendar) is also a great event attended by many people. On this day, the statue of Lady Thien Hau is placed on a palanquin and carried by young boys and girls of the 20s age which along with many activities like lion dance and art performance, create an extremely exciting festival space.
Visiting Thien Hau Temple you can not only to pray but also have an opportunity for visitors to learn about the history and architecture of a Chinese ancient place in the heart of Saigon.
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