Phu Quoc Island has many tourist attractions. Dinh Cậu (Cau Temple or Uncle Palace) is considered one of the prominent spiritual tourist attractions of the island. In addition to the purpose of enjoying the beautiful scenery, visitors also come here to pray to Cậu (Uncle) for a warm full and happy life.
How to go to Cau Temple?
Surely you will be surprised to know that Dinh Cậu is located in Duong Dong Town, the center of Phu Quoc Island. Dinh Cậu is only about 3 minutes walk from Phu Quoc night market. You can easily explore this interesting place without having to rent a car.
When was Cau Temple built?
Dinh Cậu was built quite long, in 1937. In 1997, people and local authorities repaired it. There are many news sources believing that this palace has a much older history, built around the 17th century.
What is there in Cau Temple?
The way to Dinh Cậu is 29 stone steps. On the way, there is a small Earth God shrine. The yard is paved with cement, which has God’s altar. The corridor of the front of the palace has columns made of cement having parallel sentences embossed in Chinese characters.
Palace’s wall is built of cement, on the roof of the roof is attached “Two dragons competing a gem” made of porcelain. In the main hall, there is an altar of Chúa Ngọc (Lord Pearl) and two altars of Cậu Tài and Cậu Quý (UncleTai and Uncle Quy), who are the gods who protect the people in the islands.
True to rumors, Dinh Cậu lies under an old big tree, green all four seasons. It is located on a rocky cliff of bizarre shape that rises out the sea, surrounded by rocks rising up, 3 flapping wave surfaces. Uncle Palace appears fanciful and impressive before the eyes of visitors.
The sunset of Dinh Cậu is more fanciful and shimmering, which creates memories that are hard to fade in the hearts of visitors.
Every year, on October 15 and 16 of the lunar calendar, people hold a big festival at the palace, and many people come to attend. Since ancient times, Dinh Cậu has been famous everywhere thanks to its holiness. Perhaps because of this, many visitors spend a lot of time learning about the thrilling legends of this ancient temple and consider it the main destination in Phu Quoc tour.
Thrilling legends about Dinh Cậu
The sacred rock jutted out from Dinh Cậu beach
In the past, Dinh Cậu was a simple ancient temple, it has been renovated in the past few years. Legend tells that in the 17th century, the first inhabitants from the central region came near the island. Suddenly they encountered a great storm and lost direction. Fortunately, they saw a cliff slowly emerging at the mouth of the sea and landed on the shore. People on the boat claim that Lady Lord Pearl and her two sons, Cậu Tài and Cậu Quý has saved them, set up a shrine to worship. The rumors got farther and farther and formed a custom of worship at this cliff and the shrine was named Dinh Cậu.
A Taoist hid at Dinh Cậu Cave
Many elders who were born on the island claim that in the early twentieth century a strange man appeared at Dinh Cậu. At first, he lived in the shrine cleaning and slitting incense sticks. He did not talk but indicated signs, so no one knew where his hometown was.
People only guessed he was a man from the mainland going to the island looking for a place to practice zen. After a while, he no longer stayed in the shrine but went into a cave under a large rock to practice. He used stones to fill the cave door. Many people worried that he was starving to death brought vegetarian rice to order in front of the cave, but the next day still found it intact.
Thach Son Cave where Cậu lived
He stayed in hiding for 2 consecutive years like that. One day, people saw him coming out of the cave, up to the Uncle Palace to continue the work of a shrine keeper. This time, he was willing to say to everybody but do little. He usually guesses the future life of those who came to the shrine. On the 15th and 16th of the 10th lunar month, he let the gods enter himself to distribute good fortune to the fishermen who came to worship. On the 15th and 16th of the 10th lunar year, he celebrated for Chúa Ngọc, Cậu Tài, Cậu Qúy, and other gods every year. During the ceremony, he also let the gods enter himself in order to bless everybody. People around the area called him Cậu (Uncle). The shrine that he lived has been called Dinh Cậu (Uncle Palace).
Legend of Lord Nguyễn Ánh running away from Tây Sơn
Another legend says that, in 1777, Lord Nguyễn Ánh was chased by Tây Sơn army, during the escape, came to refuge on Phu Quoc island. Here, his train was aground on a reef at one tip of the island. The lord and his entourage pleaded with Lady Chúa Ngọc to save them. He promised, after regaining the dynasty, he would ordain “Thượng Dẵngng Linh Thần” for her.
After praying, a fisherman on the shore saw that the boat was stranded and pulled the boat out of the shallow place with a forest rope, and brought everyone to the shore safely. The fisherman was immediately appointed by Nguyen Anh to the position of Đội (captain). That place was named Ông Đội (Mr. Captain) cape by Nguyễn Ánh.
When ashore, Nguyễn Ánh used his sword to dig down a rocky ravine on the shore to get fresh water. At the same time imprinting shoes on a rock to testify. Remember the promise, after regaining the dynasty. Nguyen Anh ordained Lady Chúa Ngoc and enshrined the temple at the muzzle. Her two children, Cậu Tài and Cậu Quý, were also worshiped.
The annual celebration in Dinh Cậu
Every year on October 15-16, the festival is opened, attracting more than 100,000 domestic and foreign visitors to attend. On the 15th and 30th of the lunar calendar and Tet holidays are also displayed with decent fruit. Every day, there are guests everywhere to visit.
There are many paranormal stories about Dinh Cậu. This place is said to be a very sacred place. the natural scene is charming. Therefore, it becomes a symbol of Phu Quoc, which visitors cannot miss when coming to this Pearl Island.