Bach Ma Temple: A symbol of Vietnamese traditional religion

Bach Ma temple used to be located in Ha Khau ward, Huu Tuc canton, Tho Xuong district, Hoai Duc district, now it is No. 3 Hang Buom street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi. It is proudly named “one of the four guards” by Hanoi people for its precious spiritual and historical value to the capital particularly and the whole country of Vietnam generally.

1. The legend of the temple

The temple worships Long Do god, popularly known as Quang Loi Bach Ma Dai Vuong. Legend made it told that when our country was colonized by the Northern Tang Dynasty, Cao Bien ordered the soldiers to build Dai La citadel, however suddenly the sky turned dark, a god riding a red dragon, sitting on a cloud of five sharp flew above them - right across the sky. Cao Bien was taken by surprise that he intended to use enchantments to shield him. That night, Cao Bien dreamed that a god showed up and said that "I am the elitist of Long Do land, I heard that you told me to build a fortress, why did you plan to use enchantment spells?"

When Bien woke up, he was so terrified, but he still covered the vein positions (the spots that are considered most important, deciding the fate of a country - as in Eastern culture). That night, a strange phenomenon happened. Out of nowhere, a thunderstorm made its strike. Waking up in the morning, Bien came to revisit the support areas to find locations that had been crushed by lightning. Remembering the dream, he assumed that it was one of the gods of the South. Failing with the enchantment spells, Cao Bien decided to order three troops to set up a temple to worship for their blessings.



Interestingly, there is another legend that when Ly Cong Uan moved the capital to Dai La citadel, the construction of the citadel was not completed. He went to Bach Ma Temple and saw a snowy white horse coming out of the temple. The horse ran from east to west and back to the temple, every step of its left remarkable footprints. Immediately, he ordered the soldiers to build the citadel in the footsteps of the horse. King Ly Thai To went to repair the temple, crowned the god Long Do, Quang Loi Bach Ma as the supreme god. Nowadays, uncovering the divine curtain, we see the Ly king when he moved the capital to Dai La to plan the city to the east, Bach Ma temple, the west is Voi Phuc Temple, the north is Tran Vo temple, the south is Cao Son Temple (Kim Lien communal house today). That is "Thang Long from the town". The ancients used to deify the city and deeds of the king, the holy land was prescribed by the gods with the "magic circle" which was the belief from the tribal time.

The new communal house was built in 1839 under the Nguyen Dynasty so it has an architectural style of this time. The animals on the crossbar and the lotus-shaped lanterns on the top of four armpits are close to the Phuong Dinh architecture. From the temple to Dai Bai, there is a dome shaped like a "crab shell". "Crab shells" connect the houses, creating a spacious space.

2. Festivals at Bach Ma Temple

Bach Ma Temple still retains 15 steles. The content of the steles refers to the legend of the temple and the god, rituals for worshiping the gods, and embellishment and restoration times. The temple also has worshiping objects such as hole sets including ancient weapons such as chains, swords, spears, and integrity ... painted in gilded lacquer, exquisitely carved.



The annual temple festival in the second lunar month, previously held a buffalo fighting ceremony. The temple was ranked as a historical monument of Hanoi by the Ministry of Culture and Information on December 12, 1986. In addition, you can also easily encounter the Bach Ma temple in Nghe An.

Bach Ma Temple is one of many destination in our cooking class - culinary journey, which will bring you to a back-time journey to discover the story of origin, the growth of culture and the soul of Vietnam that have left their mark in today’s dishes. 

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