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Largest holy building of Caodaism in Vietnam boasts unique architecture

Saturday, October 10, 2020, 11:03 GMT+7
Largest holy building of Caodaism in Vietnam boasts unique architecture
The Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

About five kilometers from Tay Ninh City in the namesake southern Vietnamese province lies an edifice that attracts tourists with its unique architecture representing the Vietnam-originating religion. 

Cao Dai Holy See, the largest holy building of Caodaism in Vietnam, is one of the most prominent erections in Asia.

It was built in 1933 and completed in 1947, but it was not inaugurated until 1955. 

Caodaism is a monotheistic, syncretic religion officially established in Tay Ninh of Vietnam in 1926.

It is a Vietnamese religion composed of ideas from Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and other religions.

The symbol of Caodaism, which can be seen throughout the building, is an eye in a triangle, symbolizing God.

The symbol of Caodaism is an eye in a triangle which is engraved on many structures across the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

The symbol of Caodaism is an eye in a triangle which is engraved on many structures across the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Its campus of more than 2,000 square meters houses 100 buildings of different sizes, including a legislative building — Hiep Thien Dai — as the most prominent one, two 25 meter-high empty bell towers, an executive building — Cuu Trung Dai, and Bat Quai Dai or ‘the eight trigrams.’

Tourists often choose to visit the edifice at about noon, when there is a mass, to see the solemn and beautiful services of Caodaism believers.

Two rows of dragon pillars painted blue, red, and white highlights the interior architecture of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Two rows of colorful dragon pillars highlight the interior architecture of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Tay Ninh's Cao Dai Holy See attracts millions of visitors and pilgrims each year.

The two biggest festivals are held annually on the ninth day of the first month and the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar.

“I have been to many Southeast Asian countries, but this is the first time I have experienced the unique architecture and solemn atmosphere of a Caodaism service,” said Rianie, an Argentine tourist witnessing the mass of Caodaism from the second floor.

“Admiring the unique features of a Vietnamese religion, it is an unforgettable experience!"

The central chamber of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam worships the Divine Eye on the Divine Sphere of 3,027 stars representing 3,027 globes. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

The central chamber of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam worships the Divine Eye on the Divine Sphere of 3,027 stars representing 3,027 globes. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

There are always people guarding the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam to remind visitors of correct Caodaism rituals all day, even at non-service times. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

There are always people guarding the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam to remind visitors of correct Caodaism rituals all day, even at non-service times. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Visitors are not allowed to wear shoes when entering the holy building and take photos with the background of the Divine Eye. When a service is held, tourists are limited to the second floor to stand, according to Huong, a follower and a guard at the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Visitors are not allowed to wear shoes when entering the holy building and take photos with the background of the Divine Eye. When a service is held, tourists are limited to the second floor to stand, according to Huong, a follower and a guard at the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

During services, only Caodaism followers are allowed to enter the central chamber of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

During services, only Caodaism followers are allowed to enter the central chamber of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

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Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre News

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