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Majestic Ba Chua Xu Temple

Discover the majestic Ba Chua Xu Temple in An Giang, Vietnam. Learn about its history, legends, impressive architecture, and the vibrant Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival. Get tips for visiting, offerings, and seeking blessings at this sacred spiritual destination.




Introduction to Ba Chua Xu Temple


Ba Chua Xu Temple, also known as the Lady of the Realm Temple on Sam Mountain, is one of the most renowned spiritual destinations in the Mekong Delta region. The temple is situated at the foot of Sam Mountain, in Nui Sam Ward, Chau Doc City, An Giang Province. With its auspicious feng shui location, surrounded by three rivers in the front and seven mountains in the back, Ba Chua Xu Temple has become a sacred symbol of this land, attracting millions of pilgrims each year.




Origins and Legends of Ba Chua Xu


According to legend, the statue of Ba Chua Xu is an ancient sculpture discovered on the summit of Sam Mountain long ago. The history of the statue's origins remains controversial and shrouded in mystery. Some believe it to be a statue of the Hindu god Vishnu, carved in the late 6th century and a remnant of the ancient Oc Eo civilization. However, according to the writings of author Son Nam, the statue was originally a forgotten male Khmer Buddha statue on Sam Mountain, which was later retrieved and refurbished by the Vietnamese.


Additionally, there are many intriguing legends about the relocation of the statue from the mountain. Local residents recount that when the statue was first discovered, many strong young men attempted to carry it down but were unable to lift it. Some even angered the statue, causing its hand to break. Later, through the oracle of a female medium, it was revealed that only nine virgin girls could move the statue. However, this attempt also failed. Eventually, the people understood that Ba Chua Xu wished to reside on Sam Mountain, so they built a temple to worship her there.




Impressive Architecture of Ba Chua Xu Temple


The architecture of Ba Chua Xu Temple is one of its most captivating features for visitors. In the past, the temple was a simple thatched roof structure made of bamboo. In 1870, it was rebuilt using bricks and mortar. In 1962, the temple underwent renovations using stone slabs and tile roofing. Finally, between 1972 and 1976, two architects, Huynh Kim Mang and Nguyen Ba Lang, undertook a large-scale reconstruction of the temple.


The architecture of Ba Chua Xu Temple strongly reflects Indian styles with intricate carvings and sculptures. The temple's layout follows the "Quoc" character, with a three-tiered roof inspired by the image of a blooming lotus. The green tiled roof has high-rising corners resembling the prow of a boat riding the waves. The decorative patterns on the main hall's columns prominently feature Indian artistic elements. Above, robust and beautiful deity statues extend their hands to support the roof beams.


The most important part of the temple is the statue of Ba Chua Xu, placed in the main hall. The statue, approximately 1.65 meters tall, depicts a regal and contemplative seated figure. It is made of precious stone and possesses high artistic value. Surrounding the statue are altars for the Council, the Predecessors, and the Successors.




The Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival


Every year, the "Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival" takes place from the 23rd to the 27th day of the 4th lunar month, attracting nearly 2 million pilgrims. It is one of the largest festivals for the people of the Southern region, featuring numerous rituals and vibrant folk cultural activities.


Some of the main rituals during the Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival include:


  • "Bathing the Lady" Ceremony: Held at midnight on the 23rd day of the 4th lunar month.
  • "Inviting the Seal" Ceremony: The seal and tablets of Thoai Ngoc Hau and his two consorts are carried from the Mausoleum to the Lady's temple, held at 3 PM on the 24th day.
  • Offering Ceremony and "Xay Chau" Ceremony: The "Offering Ceremony" involves presenting offerings (mainly a white pig) and performing the ritual of worshipping Ba Chua Xu, held at midnight on the 25th day. Immediately following is the "Xay Chau" ceremony, marking the beginning of the "hat bo" (classical opera) performance.
  • Main Worship Ceremony: Held at 4 AM on the 27th day.
  • "Returning the Seal" Ceremony: The seal and tablets of Thoai Ngoc Hau and his two consorts are returned to the Mausoleum, held at 4 PM on the same day.


In addition to traditional rituals, the Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival features various folk cultural activities such as classical opera, martial arts performances, pentatonic music, lion dances, and chess competitions, creating a lively and bustling atmosphere.


Tips for Visiting Ba Chua Xu Temple


Ideal Time to Visit Ba Chua Xu Temple


If you prefer to avoid crowds, it's best to visit during months outside of the festival days. The temple is usually most crowded from January to April each year, especially during the Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival from the 22nd to the 27th day of the 4th lunar month.


However, if you wish to experience the vibrant festival atmosphere, you can choose to visit Ba Chua Xu Temple during this period. Keep in mind that during the crowded festival days, security at the temple may not be guaranteed, so be cautious and take care of your belongings.



Getting to Ba Chua Xu Temple


From Ho Chi Minh City, you can choose the following means of transportation to reach Ba Chua Xu Temple in Chau Doc, An Giang:


  • By car or motorbike: Take National Highway 1A, then turn onto National Highway 80 to Chau Doc. The total distance is approximately 250 km.
  • By bus: Many bus companies operate daily routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Chau Doc.
  • By train: From Saigon Railway Station, you can take a train to Can Tho Station, then catch a bus to Chau Doc.


Upon arriving in Chau Doc, you can walk up the mountain along the paved path or use a motorbike to reach Ba Chua Xu Temple. The temple has a spacious parking area, but it can get very crowded during the festival, so it's advisable to arrive early for convenient parking.



Offerings to Ba Chua Xu


Offering rituals at Ba Chua Xu Temple are based on sincerity and individual circumstances, with no mandatory requirements. Most pilgrims purchase roasted pigs as offerings. However, the roasted pigs sold in front of the temple often lack hygiene and are overpriced, so it's not recommended to buy them there.


If time permits, you can prepare a bouquet of fresh flowers, a plate of fruits with betel nuts, candles, salt, and rice. Additionally, you can include a plate of savory dishes or sticky rice cakes. For those traveling from afar, candies can be purchased as a substitute.


Seeking Blessings at Ba Chua Xu Temple


According to local residents, visitors to Ba Chua Xu Temple on Sam Mountain have a custom of "borrowing money from Ba Chua Xu" (receiving blessings) to open the path to wealth and prosperity. The process is as follows:


  • Prepare a sum of cash (according to your ability) and a clean handkerchief.
  • In front of the altar of Ba Chua Xu, kneel down, perform three bows, and recite the prayer: "I borrow this amount of money from you to prosper in business. I promise to return double this amount to you in the future."
  • Wrap the money in the handkerchief, place it on the altar, and perform three more bows.
  • When leaving, remember to take the handkerchief with the money.


With these tips, we hope you will have a meaningful and fulfilling visit to Ba Chua Xu Temple. Come and admire the sacred beauty of this ancient temple and discover the unique cultural features of An Giang Province.




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Admin May 19, 2024

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