BACH MA TEMPLE - SPIRITUAL TOURISM DESTINATION
Bach Ma Temple is one of the four sacred temples mentioned in the famous verse: "The first is Con, the second is Qua, The third is Bach Ma, the Fourth is Chieu Trung", located on a land rich in patriotic and revolutionary traditions - Thanh Chuong district. The temple was built in the 15th century, this is the place to worship the young general Phan Da, who made many contributions to the fight against the Ming invaders on this land.
Phan Da was born and raised in Chi Linh village, Vo Liet commune, Tho Du district (now Khai Tien village, Vo Liet commune, Thanh Chuong district). His childhood was associated with the suffering of the people losing their country. Therefore, he soon formed a patriotic ideology, gathered like-minded men in the region, practiced martial arts and conducted many ambushes to drain the enemy's life force.
In 1424, when Le Loi returned to Nghe An to find land to stand by Nguyen Chich's plan, hearing the name of the young general Phan Da, Le Loi ordered the soldier to find him, invited Phan Da and all the young men to join Le Loi's insurgent army. Since then, he has become an effective man trusted and respected by Le Loi. Legend has it that when he went to battle, he often wore white armor, rode a white horse, pioneered, and made many resounding victories such as Tra Lan, Do Gia, Tien Hoa cave, etc. His name became a terror to his enemies. After many achievements, he was assigned by Le Loi to directly guard Binh Ngo citadel (now in Thanh Giang commune, Thanh Chuong district).
In 1426, in an unequal battle with the enemy on the north bank of the Lam River, Phan Da died when he was just over twenty years old. Legend has it that his body was buried in Mo Ca (now in Thanh Long commune).
Appreciating and recognizing Phan Da's merits, after ascending the throne, Le Loi posthumously awarded him the title of "General", awarded "Do Thien Dai De Bach Ma Thuong Dang Phuc Than", for people to establish the temple and listed in the "International liturgy". When participating in the war, he often rode a white horse, so the name of the temple was named Bach Ma, the white horse with him until death.
In front of the temple is the Ro River bending like a silk strip, behind the temple is a straight asphalt road connecting from Highway 49 across the Ro bridge to Ho Chi Minh Road. Bach Ma Temple is located on an area of more than 4,000m2. As a monument to a famous general built by the king’s order, it has been carefully and magnificently invested. The work includes three-direction gates, main door, Upper Palace, Middle Palace, Lower Palace, Left Palace, the building for the literature mandarins, the building for the martial mandarins with many unique architectures. In the temple, there are still many rare and precious antiques and sacrifices preserved with historical, cultural and artistic value, including 28 bronze rattles, 2 elephant statues, 1 dragon throne, 4 set of Buu bowls (it means a bowl including eight precious objects), 1 dragon palanquin, 31 Dai Tran, 8 five-fruit trays, 2 gold houses & silver houses, 1 net hat, 10 incense bowls and many ordinations, etc.
The temple is majestic, superficial, with many beautiful carvings, especially in the middle and upper Palace. Each wooden detail is a unique work of art with traditional themes such as King’s letter, dragon fish, turtle wearing lotus flower, dragon horse, ... showing the "master" level of the old artist. These themes not only show the majesty and reverence for the master god, but also the dreams and aspirations of the Vo Liet people about a peaceful and happy life, like the desire of head god of temple. Bach Ma God is famous for being sacred and has repeatedly inspired people to save and assist kings and generals of dynasties to defeat the enemy. People who pass here, even mandarins, have to take off their hats and bow down to prostrate. He was conferred by the feudal dynasties as " a kind god of heaven".
Bach Ma Temple is also the place to mark many important historical events associated with the events of conquering the South of many feudal dynasties, many kings have offered incense and stayed at the temple.
During the revolutionary climax of 1930 - 1931, Bach Ma Temple was used to organize secret activities of the Red Farmers Association of Vo Liet Commune. In 1945, the people of General Vo Liet gathered at the temple before going to the district to overthrow the feudal colonial government and many other important events.
Bach Ma Temple Festival, which takes place from the February 9th to the 10th of the lunar month, is one of the unique traditional festivals imbued with the local cultural identity, consisting of two parts: the part of ceremony and the part of contest. The highlight of the ceremony is the procession of the throne of Bach Ma god through the villages and hamlets before returning to the foreign palace - the place to worship the god's parents. The part of contest is held with many unique folk games such as Vat Cu, pot-breaking, cock fighting, etc. In addition, when participating in the festival, visitors can also enjoy delicious cuisines of Thanh Chuong such as Nhut, Tram... In 1994, Bach Ma Temple was ranked as a national architectural and artistic historical relic in Decision No. 226/QD-BT dated February 5th, 1994.
In recent years, with the attention of authorities at all levels and a large number of people, the temple has been spaciously restored, both preserving the original architecture and being worthy of the merits and position of the famous general Phan Da, contribute to promote Thanh Chuong's image on domestic and foreign tourist maps. From there, helping the locality orient the current and future economic development strategy.