Ninh Binh


That vi temple - best historical site

By Custom Vietnam Travel | Updated 1/5/2019

Thai Vi temple is situated in a small valley of Van Lam Hamlet, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh province. As a long time ago, it is home to worship first Kings of the Tran Dynasty, namely King Tran Thai Tong, Kinh Tran Thanh Tong, Kinh Tran Nhan Tong and generals such as Tran Hung Dao, Tran Quang Khai. As far as I know that because the Tran dynasty built Vu Lam’s Bow in the resistance to again Nguyen Mong army. To commemorate the Tran kings who established it, after the king died, the people of Van Lam village built Thai Vi temple on the old ground that had previously built Thai Thai, named " Thai Vi Tu ". Called Thai Vi because it is the place where Hoanh De Tran's family was ordained.

The entrance gate of Thai Vi Temple

Architecture in the way of " Foreign Affairs " is majestic and serene, with many stones work elaborately and meticulously carved, reaching the pinnacle of art with very smooth, elegant and sharp lines all right.
Located in Tam Coc - Bich Dong tourist complex, you can walk to Thai Vi Temple from Tam Coc or follow the road 2 km from Tam Coc marina. On the way to Thai Vi Temple, you will have a chance to see the stunning in both side as on the right side is the Ngo Giang line, and on the left there is Cui Linh mountain, harmoniously interfering with thousands of generations. Furthermore, in front of the temple, 
there is a golden well containing Bach Ngoc, four clear seasons like a mirror. Absolutely you will be fall in love the poetic beauty of an immature green area, the illusory amphitheatre and the ancient art-works of the ancient people bearing the rich and unique cultural identity. Everything will keep your foot on this place, make you have to return there in the more times.

The picture in front of Phat Diem Cathedral

Overview of Thai Vi Temple

The bell tower

Step to step to inside the temple you will see the big bell which had cast since 1689. Furthermore, opposite with the bell tower is the stele tower and 3 steles on both sides. The 4-side stele tower was built in 1926. The content of steles recorded the years of restoring and repairing Thai Vi Temple along with those who contributed to build the temple. The main roads and Dragon courtyard are paved with greenstones. The Dragon courtyard is about 40 square meters wide with 2 blocks of Vong houses in both sides. Stepping from the courtyard under stone sidesteps with the height of 1.2 meters is massive Ngu Dai Mon (5 Great Entrance) with 6 rows of parallel round stone pillars carved the motifs of dragons overlooking the chancel. The outer surface of the stone pillars is carved with parallel sentences in kanji. Discovering the unique architectural features of Thai Vi Temple will certainly be one of the most things to do in Ninh Binh.

The rafts on the patios are also made of stone carved 2 dragons flanking the moon. The centre compartment of the chancel is home a horizontal lacquered board red lacquer trimmed with gold hung on height. Setting foot on the inside is 3 compartments with 2 rows of round stone columns including 4 pillars in each row carved the decorative pattern of the dragon. The compartment 

is also home to a stone altar with 2 couples of wooden Cranes in both sides. After these 3 compartments are 5 main compartments with 8 round-shaped stone pillars sophisticatedly carved. The most prominent in Thai Vi Temple is that all columns are made of large monolithic green stones elaborately carved with smooth and elegant details. Sculpting features and unique architecture have brought Thai Vi Temple to become one of the most impressive Ninh Binh attractions.

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The statue of King Tran Thanh Tong in Thai Vi Temple 

Sculptors and stone carving artisans made the pillars become soulful with high artistic values.  The sanctum of the temple is the statue of King Tran Thanh Tong in the middle, the statue of King Tran Thai Tong on the left and statue of Queen Thuan Thien adjacent King Tran Thai Tong. Besides, the temple is also home to worship ancestral tablet of King Tran Nhan Tong (the first son of King Tran Thanh Tong) and Tran Anh Tong. Thai Vi Temple thus houses to worship 4 Kings of Tran Dynasty. There are also statues of Sudhana (also popularly known as Child of Wealth) standing in both sides of the Kings. Behind the magnificent and tranquil Thai Vi Temple is dragon eyes on the sides. Discovering the architectural style of the statues in the sanctum and the harmonious scenery here will be surely indispensable experiences in the journey of exploring Ninh Binh travel.
The temple was built in “Noi Cong Ngoai Quoc” (Internal attack with outside support) style. There are 3 houses of Bai Duong, Trung Duong and Chinh Tam (Main Bedroom), all of them were made of ironwood and monolithic bluestone pillars that were skilfully and artistically carved. Outside the temple, there are Ngu Mon (Five arches) that were made of stone pillars. In front of the temple, there is an ancient well called Ngoc Well made of green stone with clear and full water all year round. Sanctum is the place for worshipping the Kings of Tran Dynasties and the statue of Queen Thuan Thien, with her handsome boys and beautiful girls valeting. Moreover, the temple has many ancient works that have cultural and historical value, such as the temple arch, stone horse, bell-tower and especially a row of monolithic stone pillars in the temple.

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The festival in Thai Vi Temple

The festival is organized annually on the 14th – 17th of March of the lunar calendar. It has the purpose of commemorating Tran King, who was a credit to the nation. The worshipping part is carried out in two ways, namely the procession and the sacrifice. The procession is performed by over 30 teams coming from communes in Hoa Lu district and other within the province. After the procession, sacrifice is implemented. Sacrifice is an important ceremonial hold in front of the temple.

The entertainment is a jolly time for villagers and festival participants as it includes Kylin dancing and the dragon dance, playing human chess, wrestling, rowing….

The temple has long been well-known not only as a cultural-historical relic but also evidence of stone carving art of Ninh Binh sculptors.

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