Kiep Bac temple commemorates General Tran Hung Dao’s victories over foreign invaders

(VOVworld)- Kiep Bac temple in Hai Duong province is closely associated with the life and career of General Tran Hung Dao in the 13th century. Nestled in a small valley surrounded by splendid scenery, Kiep Bac temple with its unique architectural style is a place to explore Vietnamese culture and learn about Vietnam’s glorious victories against foreign invaders.
Kiep Bac temple commemorates General Tran Hung Dao’s victories over foreign invaders - ảnh 1

Kiep Bac combines the names of two villages in Hai Duong province. The temple is flanked on three sides by Rong (dragon) mountain. In front of the temple is the estuary of the Cau, Thuong, Luc Nam, Duong, Kinh Thay and Thai Binh rivers. Previously, Kiep Bac temple was on the main transportation route to the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. After his first battle against Mongol invaders in 1258, General Tran Hung Dao based his Command Center here and fought off the Mongols who attempted twice again to invade Vietnam from the northeast in 1285 and 1288. After his death, local people set up a temple dedicated to Tran Hung Dao to show their gratitude for his great contribution to the nation. He is honored as a Saint. Nguyen Thi Thuy Lien is Deputy Head of the Con Son Kiep Bac Relic Management Board: “There are thousands of temples dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao. But this land, Van Kiep, is closely associated with his life and career. Nam Dinh province is the home province of the General and Tran Thuong temple in Ha Nam province is his biggest shrine, Van Kiep was his military headquarters and the place where he lived his whole life. So, Kiep Bac temple is considered the holy land dedicated to Saint Tran”.

Kiep Bac temple commemorates General Tran Hung Dao’s victories over foreign invaders - ảnh 2

The temple is distinguished by its splendid arcade gate. To the left of the gate is an ancient well called "Jade Well" whose water is inexhaustible. This well has existed since the time of Tran Hung Dao. Passing through the gate, you will see three majestic sanctuaries. In the main central sanctuary, there is a statue dedicated to Tran Hung Dao. The other two sanctuaries are reserved for worshiping General Pham Ngu Lao and the wife and daughters of Tran Hung Dao. Altars for worshiping the General’s four sons also stand in the temple. Ms Lien again:“The temple dedicated to Genie Tran was built in 1300 in the reign of King Tran Anh Tong. The temple in in the royal architectural style. Restored several times, the temple’s appearance today dates back to the 19th century of  the Nguyen Dynasty. The stone floor was laid during the Nguyen dynasty in the reign of Emperor Khai Dinh. The temple was restored again in 2012”.

The Kiep Bac Temple festival, held from the 15th to the 20th of the 8th lunar month, marks the death anniversary of national hero Tran Hung Dao. The festival always attracts a large number of pilgrims and visitors. Hoang Thi Phuong is a tourist from Hanoi: I attend the Kiep Bac temple festival to pay tribute to Saint Tran, who is honored as the father of the Vietnamese people. We often come here for two days to participate in all the festive activities. The scenery here is beautiful and the air is pure”.

Kiep Bac temple commemorates General Tran Hung Dao’s victories over foreign invaders - ảnh 3

The festival features rituals dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, processions, a ceremony of prayer for peace, a festival of floating lanterns on the Luc Dau river, the "Going into trance" performances, and folk games. Mrs. Lien said: “On the 17th of the 8th lunar month, there is a ceremony of gathering troops on the Luc Dau river. The ceremony honors Tran Hung Dao, the legendary commander of the Vietnamese Navy. On that day, fishermen from around Vietnam gather at the festival and participate in a boat race to pray Saint Tran for favorable weather and a bumper fishing crop".

Following the ceremony, there are cooking competitions, boat races, wrestling matches, and folk singing performances.