As the center of Cao Dai, a religion founded in 1926 comprising a mixture of many Asian beliefs, this vast complex draws nearly three million worshippers. The main attraction here is the Great Divine Temple – a massive structure that reflects an unusual mix of Asian and European architectural elements. Amid the vibrant pinks, greens, and yellows of the decor are carvings of writhing serpents and dragons, and a multitude of Divine Eyes gazing from all directions. The prayer services, attended by hundreds of clergy in colorful robes, are held everyday and are a spectacular sight.
This long and garishly colored hall is split into nine levels, representing the nine steps to heaven. Elaborately carved columns and windows featuring the Divine Eye line the passage on either side.
Altar of the Eye
The all-seeing Divine Eye, the symbol of Cao Dai, is painted on a large, star- speckled blue globe that adorns the main altar. Decorated with clouds and stars, the dome above represents the achievement of heaven.
Phan Cong Tac
One of the founders of Cao Daism, Phan Cong Tac was the chief medium, with the ability to communicate with the holy spirits during seances.
The Three Saints
A mural depicts the three Cao Dai saints, Chinese leader Sun Yat Sen, French poet Victor Hugo, and Vietnamese poet Nguyen Binh Khiem as earthly signatories to “Third Alliance Between God and Man.”
The combination of bright colors, ornate carvings, dragon and lotus motifs, and other highly varied elements make this temple one of Vietnam’s most photographed structures.
Great Divine Temple
The spiritual centerpiece of the Cao Dai complex, this temple was built between 1933 and 1955. Its vividly decorated three-tiered roof, stained- glass windows, and kaleido scope of colors make for an unusual, striking building. The presence of the all-seeing Divine Eye represents supreme knowledge and wisdom.