Tour of Following Hung King Trace in the ancient Yen Lac Land

18/12/2013

Vinh Phuc is a prosperous land and talanted people. The natural beauty makes great impression on the tourists each time they come. Although it has gone through the rise and the fall of the history, sabotage of nature, but it has now a densy historic lelics in nine cities and districts. The province is wellknown to everyone by its natural landscape and its pwople’s hospitality.

Yen Lac District is an old land of Vinh Phuc, where the Viet people settled there nearly thousand years ago. Generation by generation, each generation imprints its specific characteristics of culture. Among them, the most special attention is paid to the imprint of Hung King dynasty in the begining period to build up the nation and together with the legend of dragon father and fairy mother who gave birth to 100 children. Their eldest son became King named Hung King. During Hung King regime, there were many preeminent heroes who people elevated to the status of Saint, such as Giong Saint, Chu Dong Tu Saint, lang Tthi Tieu Holy Mother, Forest God, Water God...Yen Lac inherits many vestiges, the mysterious traces bearing the insprint of Hung King period, of which, a typical relic is archaeology in Dong Dau, Bac Cung Teemple or Tranh Temple.

Yen Lac in particular and Vinh Phuc in general possesses a typical stamp of the begining of building country. Yen Lac is a place of the old Viet people to seetle. This stamp is disvocerved in Dong Dau archaeology area. This is an very important evidence to reflect the procedure of building the first country of Viet Nam in Red River valley.

Dong Dau is a name of a hillock (tere are many explanation of this name. Someone say this is a hillock wher people transplant bean. Some others say this is a fortunate land so the birds come to perch...). This hillock is in the final of Trung hamlet, Yen Lac Town, Yen Lac District. Dong Dau is 9 km South of Vinh Yen City. The inter-road Yen Lac - Vinh Tuong is close to the South of this lelic. The area of the hill is 8.5ha. From its southern poit to the northern point is 215m long; from East to West is 400m long. Its top is 13.6m high above the sea level and about 10m higher than the surrounding field. Generally speaking, the hill is high and dry place; there is field full of water a year round in its East. This shallow field has a rather big area. Its North is through Vac Lake. In the old days, its South is through Red River. As we may know, the Red River runs from West to East and the distance of the River section through Dong Dau is only 8km long. Close to the hill, there are many ponds or alikes, such as Dau swamp, Nau pond, Quan pond and they may be the traces of the old Loan River. If going further, we can meet Rung Lake, Yen Phuong Largoon, Vac Lake, Dong Van Lake. Standing on the hill, you can see a large poetry picture of the landscape. In the West is the green Ba Vi Mountain; in the Northeeast is the superb Tam Dao Mountain. Closer is Loan River and mmany lakes, ponds, and the vast fields of rice, green vegitables, and hamlets, villages surrounded by bamboo ramparts. The fertilized area together with such above-said traces, this was a place close to the economic-politic center in the old days, and it could be a soecial center of the culture under Van Lang period. Before discovering the archaeology in Dong Dau, local people say, “touching to Dong Dau means touching to the ancestor’s grave”. By this thinking, local people always safeguard and preserve it to the time being.        

Since November 1965, Go Dau has been excavated 7 times. Especially, the late Primer Pham Van Dong paid a vicist and directly instructed. Hundreds of thousnads of objects have been discovered through these excavations. Among them, many objects are of great importnce for research, such as a grave of the ancient Viet people dated 2000-3000 years back, hunting tools made of bone, brass, casting mould or individual appliances...From these excavated items, people know the old custom and practices of the old Viet people. Many layers of culture followed one after one other in Dong Dau, which create diversified and rich objects. Dong Dau archaeology is discovered many more bone than any others in the country did. At present, these objects are displayed in Vinh Phuc Museum. This archaeology is cassorted as a National historical and cultural Reslic from April 21, 2000.

Anothe rimportant relic in Yen Lac land is Thinh Temple of Bac Cung Temple where people worship the Four Immortal Gods of Viet Nam - the Son Tinh (Mountain Gods). Son Tinh is Hung King’s sun-in law and he together with the genrals and commanders in the the progenitor Au Co fight against the foreign invaders to secure the country peaceful. He has special skill in controling follods. He assists his king to defeat the water-nymph. He is embodiment of the old Voet people’s desire for natural control, weather cictory. Thinh Temple was built singlly in rice field of Tam Hong Commune, about 1 km long from the West of the center of Yen Lac District’s Head Quarter. People call Thing Temple because they avoid calling taboo name Thanh (God) in ancestral tablet. Another expalnation is that after he defeated Thuy Tinh (Water God) and married Ngoc Hoa Princess, Hung King wanted to hand0ver authority to him, he refused but travelled and helped people to clear land, control floods. When he passed through Tam Hong zone, he and his troops stayed and taught people to transplant rice, fishing. After his goning, people came to his camp and saw some packages of powdered grilled rice for his eating, so people called this place Thing. When building up a temple, the tenple named Thing Temple as present did. Another legend is that when he and his troops stayed ther, he taught lacal people to make a disk by mixing pork and podwered grilled rice and the temple got such name. The Temple was built from very long time ago, many its items were weathered by nuature. During 1902 to 1921, Nguyen dynasties paid attention and some its items were restored and some new items were added. Within naerly 20 years, the works completed. The Temple has an an area of 2000m2. Front worsship includes seven rooms; its harem has seven rooms in series under the form of “Ting” Chinese character. Paralell with the harem, two sides are corridors. In its front side, there is a festival yard, pond. At its far end is an outer triumphal arch to separate the silence inside with the trees. The arch gate is built as the three-door gate form with two storeys and eight roofed construction. The pre-worship house is also constructed under the form of “overlapped match box”. Two right and left side houses are constructed under the form of “bell tower”, very lively.  From the pre-worship house, its harem has seven rooms with sophisticated carving doors under the form of “Dragon-Fox-Tortoise-Pheonix” or four trees “Pine- Daisy-Bamboo- Apricot”. Each door is carved specially and sophisticatedly, whicch proved the carving profession of the old Viet people in the first part of XIX century. The woodcarvings of the tormetors, the patterns of civil and military mandarins are the special and preciuos work of art of the relic. Two paintings on the wall are also the outstanding art of painting, which engraved the subject on nature with scenery embracing trees, blending with the curve roof of the Temple in the blur indigo blue smoke in the rural. These works of art are onlt frescoes with the style of romantic writing and watercolor, but through hundreds of years, they are remaining fresh colors. How respectfull the value of the culture, the human culture and of the trdition are!    

Every year from 6th day though the 9th day of January Lunar Year are Thinh festival days, effecticious wroship and respectfull festival. The festival are games of cock fighting, wrestling, chess, teeter, drag on or volleyball and tournament of folk dancing and singing of various hamles aand villages. Each time Tam Hong peole go to work far from their home or their children are enrolled into the unviversities or they build new houses, they bring offerings to the Temple to worship their dood fortune and suppoted by Gods.Bac Cung festival is not only the activity of culture and spirit with a purpose of preservation promotion of the traditional culture but also a sightseeing point of Vinh Phuc and the country.

Another important relic in Yen Lac that is in the Tan Vien worship system is Bac Cung Temple. Bac Cung Temple or the local people called Tranh Temple, is in Trung Nguyen Commune. Calling Tranh temple because the temple is located in Tranh Hamlet (now is Hoang Thach Hamlet). The temple is in a large and plain ground under the luxiriant shade of the old trees and its three sides are rice field. A mild and poetic Phan River is as a border to separate it with the densy population. The temple faces to the West. Its erchitecture is under the form of “Ting” (Chinese character), including two house of pre-worship and tarem. The pre-worship building is spacious with three rooms and two wings. Its roof is covered by double tile. There is a room for worship Tan Mother God and a room for the pilgrim to stay overnight. In the front side of the temple are three light and flowing arches. On the arche, there is a roll paiting. In the middle arche, there are two paralell sentences, their main meanning: “Tan Mountain has passed a God stick to support country be prosperous/ People have book, they wish where there is temple, where people are in security and good health”.   

Three midle rooms are structured in the form of the gong suppoter stand, the two end rooms are pilled framework form. In the very midle room, there is an altar and worshiping objects. The two side rooms worship the civil and militery mandarins. Its tarem is seven meter long and five meter wide with the pre-worship room of two side doors and door painting in fresco. All the pillars in the temple are located on the rectangular stone block. There are not many carvings in the temple but they have a high value of aesthetics, unique and sophiscated, which bear the typical characteristics of vestige in the Northern delta and of the decorative art in ending Le and beginning Nguyen dynasties. Every year, on the 15 day of January, the 6th day of Febuary and the 8th day of August (Lunar day), Tranh Teemple organizes festival with various performances such as singing to remind the services of Tan Vien God and to show the agriculural action such as sowing the seed, working the soil and mutifold yield. In the festival days, many games are organized such as teetering, rowing, duck catching, rolling, tree climbing, chess, wrestling etc...which draw many people to take part in.

Tranh Temple is one of the sevent hundre vestges in the system of worshiping Hung Kings andtheir generals and commnders. Tan Mountain God and the Two Sisters Trung are worshipped in two hudred communes in Vinh Phuc province. Inside the Temple, there are some sculture works with high aesthetics and technique, high value of history with a menner of woodcarving in the end of XVIII century, beginning of XIX century. During the war against the American for salvation, the relic became a evacuation of a certain Centerl Authorities. The Temple now has some traces of the screte trenches for the local guerillar to hold meetings in the French war.

Following the imrpint of Hung King’s foot tour in Yen Lac shall become a typical tour of Vinh Phuc if the research is more deeper studied, more investment given to restore and repair, maintain and provide it more diversified festival. In addition, if more services as entertaiment, restaurant and procurement of the loacl are invested, this musr become a specifics tour for people, who wish to come back the original tourism.

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