Van Thuy Tu Temple in Binh Thuan, Vietnam
If we go from Ho Chi Minh City to North Vietnam, we will pass Binh Thuan Province. This place has many tourist attractions. Besides Duc Thanh School, Poshanu Tower, we can visit Van Thuy Tu, where has the skeleton of the biggest whale in Southeast Asia. This article helps you understand generally about this attraction before you start your visit.
According to Vietnamese beliefs, whales are the embodiment of a god named Nam Hai. This god helps seafarers overcome sea accidents. The people in coastal areas in Vietnam establish temples to show their gratitude and pray the god for going to sea peacefully. The whale temple of Van Thuy Tu is located in Duc Thang Ward, Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province. It was built in 1762, when this place had only Cham ethnic group live (Now Cham ethnic group is one of the members of Vietnamese).
Coming to Van Thuy Tu Temple, from the outside looking at, we see the three-entrance gate, outstandingly with the statue of Luong Long Tranh Chau (Two Dragons Look At a Moon) on the peak. Ordinary days, we are just allowed to go into the entrance on the left.
Passing the gate, In front of our eyes is a large house. Inside the house, there is a grand whale skeleton set. This skeleton set is 22 m long and is estimated to have the weight of 65 tons when being alive, and it can eat 1 ton of food every day. This is the biggest whale skeleton in Southeast Asia. In front of the skeleton has a Long Dinh (a very small temple made of wood) to worship the whale and to be used to bring God Nam Hai from the sea back to attend the festival.
Behind the whale house is Nam Hai God Temple. The front part of the temple is Vo Ca (the place for performing ancient dramas). Behind Vo Ca is Main Hall. In the middle is Nam Hai God statue with a majesty appearance. Two sides are Thuy Than (Water God) altars. Fishers usually come here to pray for a peaceful sea trip. In addition, the decorating objects carved skillfully contribute to creating solemnity for Hall Main. Behind Main Hall is the place to contain over 100 other whale skeleton sets and many copies of ordainment papers for the temple of Nguyen Dynasty.
On the right of Van Thuy Tu Temple is Ngoc Lan Thanh Dia. This is a plot of land to bury dead whales. Whenever there is a whale dying, people bring it back with a crane-truck. The whale brought back is organized a funeral carefully. Every year people come to clean tombs and burn incenses.
Coming Van Thuy Tu Temple in Binh Thuan, we not only visit a temple having hundreds of years of ages and understand better about the whales worshiping custom of the people in the sea region but also have the occasion to admire the biggest whale skeleton in Southeast Asia.
Address: Ngu Ong Street, Duc Thang Ward, Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam.
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