Thai Vi Temple

Located within the complex of the Tam Cốc – Bích Động tourist area, the Thái Vi Temple is situated in the area of Văn Lâm village, Ninh Hải commune, Hoa Lư district, Ninh Bình province. Here, kings and generals of the Trần Dynasty are worshipped. In the 13th century, one of the most powerful and prosperous dynasties of feudal Vietnam flourished. During its 175 years of existence and development, the Trần Dynasty achieved significant accomplishments in various aspects, most notably their three victories over the Yuan-Mongol armies.

To commemorate the Trần kings, the people of Văn Lâm village established the Thái Vi Temple on the site where the Thái Vi Pavilion, known as “Thái Vi Từ,” once stood after their passing. It is called Thái Vi because it was where the Trần emperors retired from worldly affairs.
The Thái Vi Temple venerates King Trần Thái Tông, Trần Thánh Tông, Hiển Từ Empress, and also pays tribute to King Trần Nhân Tông, Trần Anh Tông’s father. Legend has it that the Thái Vi Temple was built on the foundation of the Vũ Lâm Royal Palace of the Trần kings.

Set amidst natural landscapes like a painted picture, the Thái Vi Temple follows the architectural style of “inner work and outer realm.” All columns inside and outside the temple are made of solid blue stone, meticulously carved with elegant and intricate floral patterns, rivaling wood carvings in sophistication. In front of the temple is a jade well also built from blue stone, maintaining a green hue throughout the year. Behind the temple lies the majestic and rugged Cấm Sơn mountain range. Inside the temple, there are numerous valuable ancient statues, stone tablets, and ancient bells. The memorial stone tablets record the merits of those who contributed to the temple’s construction and paid respects.
Upon entering the temple, you will encounter a large dragon courtyard, approximately 40m² in size, paved with blue stone. Both the main path and the dragon courtyard are paved with blue stone. On either side are two rows of Vọng houses, where elders used to discuss ritual matters. Additionally, the Thái Vi Temple features the Ngũ đại môn with its impressively carved architecture. Stone columns outside are engraved with prominent Chinese couplets, surrounded by intricately carved stone eaves depicting dragons and moon motifs.
From the dragon courtyard, stepping up the 1.2m-high stone steps, you reach the main entrance with six rows of parallel round stone columns, each intricately carved with dragon motifs facing the main façade. The outer faces of the stone columns are also carved. The stone eaves are similarly carved stone, featuring ornate carvings.
Today, the Thái Vi Temple Festival has become a village festival, held from the 14th to the 17th of the third lunar month. According to local beliefs in Tam Cốc, after defeating the Yuan-Mongol invaders, the 15th of March is the day when the kings returned to Thiên Trường in Nam Định to pay homage to their ancestors and celebrate victory. Thus, this festival is a celebration of the kings’ triumph and a tribute to the brave sacrifices of the soldiers who gave their lives for the nation. The Thái Vi Temple Festival is a comprehensive village festival. On the afternoon of the 14th of March, villagers of Văn Lâm village open the temple, carrying holy incense to the temple of the Ancestors. Locals believe this was where officials reported before entering the Vũ Lâm Royal Palace and also where they paid respects to the Trần kings. On the morning of the 15th of March, villages from the former Vũ Lâm district will parade the saintly procession representing their villages to the Ancestral Temple to perform ritual ceremonies.

After completing the rituals at the Ancestral Temple, Văn Lâm village, the heads of the ritual procession lead the procession to the Thái Vi Temple to worship the Trần kings. After the rituals, there is a performance of Ca Công singing. Ca Công singing involves a musician playing a lute, accompanied by a woman dressed in a flowing áo dài with a red sash and a green sash, singing praises to the merits of the Trần kings.
During the festival, there are also dragon and lion dances, spinning tops, chèo singing, blindfolded goat-catching, dumpling stuffing, three sticks game, shrimp net game, etc.
Attending the Thái Vi Temple Festival is an opportunity to visit the scenic landscapes, admire the vast mountains and waters, and a chance to release worldly worries to return to the origins, commemorating the achievements of the Trần kings.

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