Location: Tay Ninh, Southern Vietnam
Time Required: 1 hour
Red Tape/Notes: Admission is free, and the temple is open daily from dawn to dusk
We stopped here mainly to kill time, but it was interesting to see the temple and the mid-day service. This is where the Cao Dai religion was founded in 1926, and it has a following of around 6 million people. The temple itself was built over a 20 year period and completed in 1956. Caodaism is a monotheistic religion, melding eastern and western influences – they believe in a supreme deity who created the universe, and practice prayer, nonviolence, and vegetarianism, with the goal of union with God. The temple itself looks almost edible – like it’s made out of candy. Or perhaps I was just hungry at the time. Anyway, the architecture and colors are quite notable, and has been described as “part-cathedral, part-pagoda, part-mosque, and part-fairytale” with distinct pastel colors; these elements appear to be consistent in all the Cao Dai temples (I always notice them when we’re traveling now – we even have one in San Diego), though this one is certainly the archetype.