Vung Tau is renowned for vast beaches, winding hills or delicious seafood. Besides, the land welcomes tourists to the monument area of Thang Tam Spirit communal house – the fascinating and impressive place for those people who are keen on spiritual culture.
Thang Tam Spirit communal house in Vung Tau, the place to worship three guardians of Phuoc Thang village, was established to protect trading ships of Vietnamese people according to Gia Long Long King’s decree. This place witnessed many fights for the independence of Phuoc Thang local people and was generally considered the unique monument in Vietnam.
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Thang Tam Spirit Communal House In Vung Tau, Vietnam
Despite being renowned for the spiritual-cultural place, many tourists do not know the exact address of Thang Tam communal house. Thang Tam Spirit communal house now lies on 77 Hoang Hoa Tham street, Thang Tam ward, Ba Ria- Vung Tau City.
Thang Tam Spirit communal house was built in the period of Minh Mang King, but its architecture was still simple in the shape of a thatched cottage. Until 1835, the communal house was tiled the roof, and until 1965, it was in complete restoration and construction. In1991, the architecture of Thang Tam Spirit communal house in Vung Tau was recognized as a historical cultural, national monument by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Thang Lam Spirit communal house attracts tourists, especially foreigners by its ancient architecture with meticulous sculpture in the lean-to, pillars. The roof of temples and Ba Ngu Hanh temple was tiled by “Yin and Yang” tiles with the sophisticatedly embossed symbol “ Lưỡng long chầu nguyệt” (a couple of dragons symmetrically through the moon). Worshipping objects and the interior decoration in the temple are illuminated meticulously and luxuriously. Notably, in Ong Nam Hai royal tomb, there is a display of giant Ong fish’s bones with the length of more than 12m that was discovered about 100 years ago.
Remarkably, the monument area of Thang Tam Spirit communal house includes Ong Nam Hai royal tomb and Ba Ngu Hanh temple, which are two temples with many historical values. Therefore, the local people have a belief in the sanctity of this place; especially, sea fishers often get to the temple to wish blessing and prosperity for their family.
Tourists can go sightseeing around the monument. First, when entering the gate, you can see Ba Ngu Hanh temple on the left side. The temple was built at the end of the 19th century and worshipped five Goddesses: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. Besides, the temple also worshipped the Holy Mother Y A Na and Thủy Long Goddess. Ba Ngu Hanh was constructed in the architectural style “one compartment and two lean-tos” and the embossed image “ lưỡng long chầu nguyệt” on the rooftop. Notably, there are eight shires inside the temple. The middle of the main hall is the shire of five essential elements and two Goddesses. Two sides are the shires of five men and five women; the left side worships Quan Công, Quan Bình and Châu Xương. These people are faithful men willing to rescue fishers in accidents. The right side is the shire of the Kitchen God; the backside is the shire of Tiền Hiền with humane and generous local people.
Ca Ong royal tomb or Ong Nam Hai royal tomb lies on the right of the monument area and was constructed at the same time as Ba Ngu Hanh temple. Tourists will be keen on the display of Ong fish’s bones with the age of more than 100 years old when they visit this place. The tomb was designed in the ancient architecture; inside the tomb, there is a large glass cabinet to keep the fish bones and three shires. Two sides of the tomb are two shires of Ba Sau (Tortoise God) and tổ nhạc.
Thang Tam Spirit monument area still keeps 12 credits of Thieu Tri King and Tu Duc King. Among them, there are six credits for Đại Càn Quốc Gia Nam Hải (Ca Ong) and three credits for The Holy Mother Y A Na and three credits for Thủy Long Goddess.
On the festival, 15th day of the month and important events, local people often come here to worship and pray for luck and favorableness, especially when the fishers prepare to go offshore. Mainly, throngs of people everywhere get to the monument area to wish blessing and happiness in big festivals featuring Cầu an festival (17th – 20th February, Lunar calendar), Nghinh Ông festival (16th -18th August, Lunar Calendar) and Ba Ngu Hanh temple festival (16th-18th October, Lunar calendar). It will be such a fascinating experience for tourists to join the celebrations. The rituals during the festival are unique and strange; for example, people have to wait for the lower tides, go barefoot on stones.
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After exploring Thang Tam monument, tourists can move to Bai Sau (Back Beach), another adjacent area. People can enjoy themselves by taking part in activities on the beach and try seafood and drink. In Particular, tourists feel immersed in the beautiful seascapes and the calm atmosphere on the beach. It will be a getaway for anyone to find relaxation and comfort after tiring days.
By Minh Phuong