The temple has existed for more than 7 centuries on the Mai Giang river

NGHE AN – CON TEMPLE , located at the mouth of Mai Giang River for more than 7 centuries, is named among the four sacred temples in Nghe An, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Con Temple is located in Phuong Can village, Quynh Phuong commune, Hoang Mai town, 75 km north of Vinh city, about 220 km south of Hanoi. This relic has two temples, including Con Trong temple and Con Ngoai temple, ranked by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as a national historical and cultural relic in 1993.

The people of Nghe An have a saying “Nhat Con, second Qua, three Ma, four Chieu Trung”, ranking Con temple among the most sacred. Next is Qua Son temple in Do Luong district, Bach Ma temple in Thanh Chuong district and Chieu Trung Le Khoi temple on Nam Gioi mountain, Thach Ha district, Ha Tinh province.

On the photo is Con Trong temple built on Diec mound, facing Mai Giang river. On both sides of the river are houses close together, and the scenery of the boat wharf is poetic.

Con Temple worships the Four Holy Mothers, with four statues located at Con Trong temple.

Legend has it that the Four Holy Ladies are three princesses of the Southern Song Dynasty, including Queen Mother Duong Nguyet Qua, two princesses Trieu Nguyet Khieu, Trieu Nguyet Huong and their nurse. In 1229, the Mongol Yuan army annexed the Southern Song dynasty in China. When the imperial army was ambushed at Nhai Son, Prime Minister Luc Tu Phu took King De Binh, his family and more than 800 people on a boat to flee at sea.

The boat carrying King De Binh encountered strong waves and winds and sank at sea. The bodies of Queen Mother Duong Nguyet Qua along with the two princesses and their nurses washed up at Can estuary (now Con estuary, Hoang Mai town, Nghe An). The villagers saw the bodies of drowned women with bright pink faces, aristocratic clothes, and a special scent like cinnamon orchids, so they were surprised. They gathered to bury and set up shrines, and every time they went out to sea they often came to pray.

The complete history of Dai Viet records about this event: “Left Prime Minister Luc Tu Phu carried King Song and jumped into the sea to die, many of his harem and mandarins died. After seven days, more than 100,000 bodies floated to the surface of the sea. King Song’s body is also there.”

According to Complete History of Dai Viet , in 1311, Emperor Tran Anh Tong led his army to attack Champa. On the way, the king stopped his warships at Can gate (Con gate), and in the middle of the night he dreamed of a goddess. Please help me make progress.” A few weeks later, the Tran army marched straight to Cha Ban citadel and captured the Champa king. Returning victorious, in 1312, Emperor Tran Anh Tong ordered his army to build a temple at Can Hai estuary, today’s Con estuary, to worship and remember merits.

Built in the Tran dynasty, Con Trong temple developed on a large scale in the Le dynasty and was restored extensively in the Nguyen dynasty, so the monument bears the cultural style of the late Le and early Nguyen.

Go through the temple gate to enter the courtyard, climb up 10 stone steps to reach the ritual gate – a large, public-shaped building with two floors and 8 roofs. Next is the main hall, middle hall and lower hall. The singing and dancing court with three main rooms and two side rooms is also dozens of square meters wide, decorated with diverse patterns inside.

In front of the entrance to Con Trong temple, there is a 500-year-old banyan tree, which has been recognized as a heritage tree by the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Nature and Environment.

On the left side of the temple grounds there is a stele house, inside there are two-sided stone stele. The stele was erected in 1665, 1.6 m high, 1.2 m wide.

In the ceremonial gates, main hall, middle palace, and lower palace, 142 precious artifacts are kept, including many stone and wooden statues of the Le Dynasty; Couplets, great characters, offerings, palanquins, parasols, bronze bells cast in Canh Hung year (1752)…

Every day, Con Temple attracts hundreds of visitors from everywhere to visit and worship. Particularly during Tet, full moon, and first days, the relic welcomes 3,000-4,000 people every day. In addition to sightseeing, visitors here also prepare offerings including candies, fruits, and votive papers to pray for peace.

“Every year my family often goes to Con Temple to burn incense and pray for peace after Tet. The scenery here is beautiful, walking around the campus always makes me feel relieved,” said Mr. Nam, a tourist from Hanoi. , speak.

Inside the ritual rooms, the main hall, the middle hall, and the lower hall, there are always people sitting around mats spread in the middle of the floor for the shaman to perform the ceremony. At times, due to overcrowding, visitors have to wait a long time for their turn.

One kilometer away from Con Trong temple is Con Ngoai temple. The temple is located on a mountain range close to Lach Con seaport, about 100 m above sea level.

Legend has it that in the first year of Hong Duc (1470), King Le Thanh Tong, on his way to lead troops to fight the enemy, also stopped at Con gate and went to Con Trong temple to hold a ceremony. The Four Holy Ladies appeared to help defeat the enemy. Returning to the capital, the king provided money to build the Con Ngoai temple and conferred the title “Dai Can of the Nam Hai nation, the four supreme saints, your majesty” to acknowledge the merits of the gods.

Con Ngoai Temple was embellished and completed under the reign of King Tu Duc, at the same time Con Trong Temple was renovated. The temple is also designed with carvings and patterns on the roof, the structure includes an upper palace, a middle palace, and a lower palace. Although it is an auxiliary temple, this relic also attracts tens of thousands of tourists to visit and worship each year.

According to statistics, in a year, there are about 130,000-150,000 domestic tourists coming to the two temples in the Con temple relic complex.

On weekdays, at Con Temple, there are 1-2 people writing prayers to pray for peace. After Tet, due to the sharp increase in visitors, the authorities arranged dozens of additional people to sit at tables close to the entrance and write thousands of notes every day.

Around the temple there are stalls selling fast food and souvenirs. Many people also buy dozens of birds in cages to sell to tourists who want to release them, the price for each release is 30,000 VND/bird.

At the entrances and exits of the temple, people always set up charcoal grills to grill herring, mackerel, itchy fish, red snapper… Visitors can buy grilled fish to enjoy on the spot, or pack it in a box to take home. as a gift.

Previously, the main Con Temple festival took place from January 15 to 21 every year, but has now been shortened to three days. This is one of the most ancient festivals in Nghe An. In addition to the ceremony, there are also many unique activities such as flying palanquin processions, wrestling, boat racing, and Ca tru singing.

In 2017, the Con Temple Festival was recognized as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage. This year, the festival takes place from February 28 to March 1 (January 19-21 of the lunar calendar), expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors.

Photo,Video: Internet (