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Sacred temple by Van Uc river
07/10/2011 - 14:48

Sacred temple by Van Uc river

Gam temple - the temple by Van Uc river - is one of meaningful destinations for many tourists when coming to Haiphong. Being situated in Cam Khe village, Toan Thang commune, Tien Lang district, Gam temple is an ancient architectural work built by Cam Khe villagers. This is a venue to worship and commemorate commander Ngo Ly Tin, a skillful general and talent scholar in the Ly dynasty (1010 - 1226). During the earliest time, Gam temple was an important relic possessing a true human value bequeathed by history, an artistic architecture and close with the spiritual life of not only Toan Thang and Tien Lang residents.

According to historical records and oral transmission of village patriarch generations, Gam temple was built under King Ly Cao Tong’s reign. Since its construction up to now, the relic has been repaired many times which faded out ancient traces. As for architectural value, the rebuilt Gam temple mostly displays the Nguyen dynasty’s style with smooth carving features. During 1802-1846 under the Nguyen dynasty, Gam temple was put through a comprehensive restoration toward the architecture of “horizontal front, T-shaped rear” (tiền nhất hậu đinh) with 5 front sanctuary compartments, 3 front-offerings compartments and one rear compartment. Timber beams were disposed toward the style of “same direction arrangement fixed by tenons at pillar tips” (thuận chồng đốc thước). The roof was covered with perking tiles...

Overall works of the relic follow a distinct style, of which the combination creates a unique successive lay-out. Remarkably, despite being ravaged by wars, Gam temple still preserves many valuable vestiges such as: the fresco painting door hung under the upper beam in the middle front-offerings compartment, with dimension of 1.4m width and 1.6m height, carved with the pattern of “two dragons flanking a moon” (lưỡng long chầu nguyệt); the y môn (the decorating gate in front of an altar) hung under the lower beam in the left compartment, carved with the pattern of “two dragons flanking daisy” (lưỡng long chầu hoa cúc); the palanquin – a small architecture with 2 layers and 8 roofs, carved with patterns of the eight treasures (bát bửu), flowers and leaves, the two dragons scrambling a pearl (lưỡng long tranh châu), palindromes and the Chinese word “longevity” (chữ thọ). The relic has been a pride and a venue to pull strings for the traditionally spiritual belief of local residents, and also a destination for visitors to pull strings for their aspiration through spiritual tours to find out national ancestor’s origin… The saying “Bi temple takes the first, Gam temple takes the second” (thứ nhất Đền Bì, thứ nhì Đền Gắm) which has been transmitted orally through generations clearly affirms the critical position of Gam temple in the network of Haiphong relics. Especially, the relic also contains the great meaning for historians to conduct researches on the proud and glorious history of struggles against aggressors of Vietnamese people. Through years passing by, the relic has been much downgraded. On 2nd March 2010, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism coordinated with Haiphong People’s Committee to launch the groundbreaking ceremony for restoration and embellishment of Gam temple and its components like front-offerings compartments, midway-offerings compartments, rear compartment, temple janitor statues, and technical infrastructure... on a total area of nearly 2,000m2 with total invested fund of 21.4 billion VND for Phase 1. In early July 2010, Mr. Hoang Van Ke, Vice Chairman of Haiphong People’s Committee and representatives of relevant departments carried out an inspection on the progress of the Gam temple restoration project. In the inspection, Vice Chairman Ke required operating units to guarantee the progress as well as artistic and technical requirements of the work; striving to complete fundamental items right in the Celebration of 1,000-year Thang Long - Hanoi, and complete entire work at the end of this year (2011). This is a practical and meaningful project with the purpose of restoring and promoting advantageous values of the relics in the social life; preserving nobly traditional cultural values which have been maintained through dynasties; containing critical meaning in the education of patriotic tradition which helps the local not to lose its character; and also being a key stress to create advantages for the development of Haiphong tourism./.

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