THANH HOA – Le Lai Temple was built after Le Loi defeated the Minh enemy and ascended the throne, to commemorate the general who changed his robe and risked his life to save the lord during the Lam Son uprising.
The Temple of Trung Truc King Le Lai, also known as Tep Temple, is located on a low hill in the center of Tep village, Kien Tho commune, Ngoc Lac mountainous district – Le Lai’s hometown.
Le Lai Temple belongs to the Lam Kinh Special National Monument, about 6 km west of the main hall and more than 50 km from Thanh Hoa city.
According to the book Dai Viet General History, in 1416 Le Lai and Le Loi and 17 generals held an oath at Lung Nhai to prepare to raise troops to rebel in Lam Son to expel the invading Ming invaders. At the swearing-in ceremony, Le Lai was awarded the position of General Manager of the General Capital and the title of Noi Marquis.
In 1419, when the Lam Son insurgent army was besieged by the enemy on Chi Linh mountain and had no way to retreat, in an urgent situation, Le Lai exchanged his coat with Le Loi, risking his life to save the lord and protect his forces. He rode an elephant into battle to break the siege, but because the enemy force was too strong, Le Lai was captured and brought back to Dong Do to be tortured and beheaded.
Le Lai’s noble sacrifice made an important contribution to the victory of the Lam Son uprising. Remembering his gratitude, Le Loi, after ascending the throne in the first year of Thuan Thien (1428), built a temple to worship him in Tep village and ordered later soldiers and officials to commemorate Le Lai’s death one day before his death anniversary, from There is a popular saying “twenty-one Le Lai, twenty-two Le Loi”.
The front hall of the temple worships King Le Lai.
According to historical data, in 1450, the reign of Thai Hoa, King Le Nhan Tong continued to issue orders to repair and embellish the temple as a place of worship and incense to the talented general who selflessly saved his master.
During the years 1939 and 1944 under the reign of King Bao Dai, the temple continued to have its harem restored for the last time and has the shape it has today.
The temple is designed and built in the style of stacking beams and gongs (a type of traditional house architecture in the North in the past), with a curved roof as often seen in communal houses and pagodas.
Inside Tep temple is decorated with an altar painted in red and gold.
In the harem area, there are many valuable ancient artifacts such as horizontal panels and parallel sentences engraved on solid wooden panels, praising the merits and heroic example of the founder of the country of the Later Le Dynasty.
To the right of Le Lai temple is the temple worshiping the mother – that is, worshiping the Holy Mother Nuong A Thien – Le Lai’s wife.
On the roof of the mother church, there is a majestic and ancient statue of two dragons flanking the moon.
In front of the temple of Trung Truc King Le Lai, there is a large semicircular lake with lush green trees all year round.
Around the Le Lai temple grounds, there are many ancient trees such as crocodile, banyan, ironwood, bamboo… trees with large trunks that can be hugged by dozens of people.
Right at the main gate leading into the ancient temple, there are two large frangipani trees, said to be hundreds of years old, with rough bodies. These two frangipani trees have been ranked as Vietnamese heritage trees.
Every year, the Tep temple festival takes place on the 21st day of the 8th lunar month and the 8th day of the 1st lunar month – the exact day of Le Lai’s death.
At the festival, there are often sacrificial and incense-offering activities that take place solemnly and respectfully according to the Le dynasty’s sacrificial rituals. There are also palanquin processions, adoration singing, gong performances, sword dancing, archery, cockfighting…. The festival has become a big festival for local people and attracts thousands of visitors. offering incense and offerings.