DUC HOANG TEMPLE – YEN THANH DISTRICT
Duc Hoang Temple was built on a high mound in the middle of ironwood forest along Dieu Oc lake in Hong Phong village, Phuc Thanh commune, Yen Thanh district. This is a unique landscape, in harmony between the green natural scenery and the ancient religious architecture, once considered one of the "Dong Thanh with eight scenes" (Yen Thanh district and Dien Chau district today).
In the past, this was just a simple small temple/shrine worshiping the Snake god - the typical god of the inhabitants of wet rice farming. Folk legend had it that, in Dieu Oc village, Giai Lac commune, there is Bau Ac. There is a happy but infertile farmer couple living along the lagoon. One day, the wife bathed in the lagoon and became pregnant, gave birth to two eggs, and hatched two snakes. They treated snakes like their children, they did not leave early in the evening. One day, while working in the field, the father accidentally cut off the tail of a snake. That tailless snake went away somewhere else. The second snake stayed in Bau Ac, later the people built a temple to worship as the lord of Dieu Oc village. In 1505, the temple was built and embellished to become the upper hall, next after that, the middle hall was built in 1882 and the lower hall was built in 1936. Later, the temple worshiped more Sat Hai Lord Hoang Ta Thon, a talented general who had great merits in the resistance war against the Nguyen Mong invaders in the 13th century. He was born in 1254 in Van Phan village, Dong Thanh district, (now known as Dien Van commune, Dien Chau district), with more swimming talent than other people. When the country was invaded by the Nguyen Mong invaders, he was chosen by Tran Hung Dao to be the secretary of the interior, and then joined the talented marines of the Tran Dynasty.
In the naval battle on Bach Dang River in 1288, he commanded tens of thousands of marines, used the strategy of diving into the river to puncture enemy ships, contributing to the great destruction of the enemy on the Bach Dang river. King Tran Nhan Tong proclaimed him "Sat Hai Chang lai Đai tuong quan", assigned to command the Marines to defend the coastal area and granted the land of Van Trang to him, now known as Long Thanh commune, Yen Thanh district. Here, he had great merit in recruiting people, clearing land, establishing villages, opening schools to teach and provide vocational training for the people..
Duc Hoang Temple also worshiped more Princess Lieu Hanh and Princess Bach Y. Princess Lieu Hanh was a deity in Mother Goddess worship, one of the "the four immortal saints" in Vietnamese folk beliefs. Holy Mother Lieu Hanh was a talented, virtuous person who loved the people and always saved people from suffering. From the Le dynasties to the Nguyen dynasties, she was ordained as "An exemplary mother for all".
Princess Bach Y was said to be the daughter of Ho Quy Ly, a princess with a kind heart and pity for the poor. Once, she conspired to lie to the king to save the people digging the Sat canal (a section of channel of the Le Dynasty), which angered her father and he killed her. After her death, she often epiphany to help the victims, to bless the country to prosper. She was bestowed many titles by the feudal dynasties.
The architecture of Duc Hoang Temple is arranged in the style of the letter "Tam". Up to now, most of the ancient architecture of the Le - Nguyen dynasties are still preserved and many other auxiliary works such as Nghi Mon, Tac Mon, courtyard, garden, and water well. Although the architecture is modest and rustic, it has an ancient, quiet and sacred beauty with delicate and soft decorative details. The most unique is the lower hall, which has 3 compartments, trusses structured in the style of intersection, on the arch decorated with a set of 4 sacred animals and stylized patterns. The middle space is built with a gazebo-style stack of matches, with yin and yang tiled-roof, all tops are covered with the image of a crocodile hiding in the clouds, in the middle of the roof edge is the image of a shining sun. The gazebo is meaningful as a viewing platform and also means to honor the merits and inspiration of the god.
The middle hall consists of 3 compartments, 2 acts, four-pillar structure, decorated with 3 altars: the right compartment for worshiping Princess Lieu Hanh, the middle space for worshiping the gods, and the left one for worshiping Saint Tran. The upper hall consists of 2 worshiping compartments, this is a sacred space to place tablet of Snake God and worship Sat Hai Lord Hoang Ta Thon.
Duc Hoang Temple Festival takes place from January 29 to February 1 of the lunar calendar every year with a grand procession around the lotus pond in front of the temple, along with folk games and traditional sports which attract a large number of people and tourists from all over the region.
The ancient temple has historical, cultural and aesthetic values, it is a place of spiritual and cultural activities of the people of Yen Thanh in particular and Nghe An in general, which has been ranked as a national historical - cultural relic in Decision No. 95/QD-BVHTT, dated 24/01/1998.