The temple is built on nine levels and the inside is lined with a series of pillars with ornate colored dragons curling up them. The ceiling of the temple is painted sky blue and adorned with white fluffy clouds, said to represent the heavens.
Tay Ninh is 95 km from Ho Chi Minh city and is the original home of the Cao Dai religious sect. Last time, this sect ran its own army, as they had been ruthlessly oppressed by Diem and his regime. The Cao Dai denied support to the Viet Cong, and after reunification, they were punished for this intransigence by the confiscation of their lands and temples which were not returned to them until 1985.
The central Cao Dai Temple is 4 km from Tay Ninh in the village of Long Hoa. Surrounded by a number of schools and administrative buildings, the temple contains an awesome array of colors and symbolism unlike anything else you will see in Vietnam. The temple is built on nine levels and the inside is lined with a series of pillars with ornate colored dragons curling up them. The ceiling of the temple is painted sky blue and adorned with white fluffy clouds, said to represent the heavens.
In fact, almost everything within the temple holds some symbolic value. At the far end of the great hallway is a large brightly colored globe upon which is a large eye. This is the divine "all seeing eye:, believed to represent the creator of the universe and similar eyes can be seen lining both sides of the building within its lattice windows. The temple always looks like it has just had a new coat of paint and is extremely photogenic.
Masses star at 6 am, midday, 6 PM and midnight. It is good timing your visit to the temple for one of these ceremonies as they are quite spectacular to witness. Men enter from and pray on the right side of the temple while women enter from and pray left. During festivals, all the worshippers are dressed from head to toe in white to add a bit more formality to the scene. The three colors are red, yellow and blue which represent Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism respectively. If a funeral is in progress, an icon is placed on the central altar for each of the deceased. Although you are not allowed in the actual area of worship during prayer, you are allowed in the foyer, from where you can take some great photos of the mass.