Cuong Temple

Cuong Temple

Nghe An, Vietnam
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Cuong Temple is situated on Mo Da mountain, Nghe An Province in the north central region of Vietnam. The temple was built to worship Thuc An Duong Vuong who ruled over the kingdom of Au LAc (now Vietnam) from 257 BC to 207 BC. According to village elders, in the past Mo Da mountain was […]

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Cuong Temple is situated on Mo Da mountain, Nghe An Province in the north central region of Vietnam. The temple was built to worship Thuc An Duong Vuong who ruled over the kingdom of Au LAc (now Vietnam) from 257 BC to 207 BC.

According to village elders, in the past Mo Da mountain was the habitat of peacocks. From afar, Mo Da looks like a giant dancing peacock or stork. The peacock is stretching its tail over to La Van village, with two wings reaching low hills far away. The Temple dedicated to King Thuc is situated on the head of the peacock. That is why it is called Cong, or Cuong Temple according to local pronunciation.

A thick and vast pine forest covers Mt Mo Da. Behind it is the immense sea, with waves crashing onto the shore day and night. To the north of the mountain is the flat Cua Hien beach which makes a good seaside resort. Tens of thousands of rocks in the form of fishes emerge from the beach, giving it the name Ngu Hai rock-field.

There is a big and flat rock which looks like a chess-board. Legend has it that on fine days, King Thuc An Dương Vương walked along the shore and played chess with fairies on this rock, so it was named chess-board rock. At dawn, the rock-field is sparkling splendidly in different colours.

In the afternoon, the shade of Mo Da mountain covers the rock-field, temperature reduces and the area becomes very cool and comfortable. Particularly, this is the only area in Nghe An province not hit by the hot south-west wind in summer.

Cuong Temple has been described by researchers as a beautiful and solid architectural work which can stand the adverse weather with heavy rains and typhoons in central Vietnam.

The temple was built as the Chinese character tam (three) and consists of three parallel residences. It comprises three structures, the upper, central and lower, enclosed by a wall and many ancient and sacred trees. On the roofs, there are running lions and two dragons looking at the moon.

The exact year when Cuong Temple was built was not clear. A celebrity of the Le dynasty, Pham Dinh Ho (1768 – 1839) in his “Notes taken on rainy days” wrote, “I was on a family business and stopped over in Cuong Temple. Looking down from the rocky mountain which looked like the head of a stork I found the temple dedicated to King Thuc An Dương Vương lying on the mountain’s side. I felt as if I saw the neck of the stork as green as grass and a number of beautiful dancing peacocks. The thatched roofed lower structure was lying under the central structure. After three layers we came down the mountain”.

In 1802, King Gia Long was enthroned and he then ordered the repair of the temple. In the Giap Ty lunar year (1864), King Tu Duc again improved the temple. At its inauguration ceremony, the King offered it a gold coin as a keepsake.

In the 10th year of King Thanh Thai’s enthronment (1897), the Temple’s upper structure was upgraded to deserve a place worthy of a king. In the 1st year of King Khai Dinh’s enthronment (1916) the external part was refurbished. The Temple has maintained its look until today.

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