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Bao Ha Temple: Of Religion and History

For pilgrims and other religious enthusiasts, the Bao Ha Temple is an ideal destination for spiritual enlightenment. Located 60 kilometers South of Lao Cai Province and situated along the Hong (Red) River and Cam Hill, it is also a sanctuary of beauty for people who just want to admire nature.


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Aside from its religious function, Bao Ha Temple is also an architectural masterpiece showcasing traditional Vietnamese style. The complex is designed with natural landscape of mountains and green fields. Moreover, it is also home to an important part of Vietnam’s history. It was the strongest line of defense between Thuy Vi and Van Ban against the Northern invaders.


During the end of the reign of the Ly Dynasty in 1740-1786, Thuy Vi and Van Ban in Quy Hoa were often attacked by foreign invaders from the North who wanted to steal from and assault them. King Le Hien Tong deployed General Nguyen Hoang Bay to Quy Hoa to fight off their attackers who in turn led his army to Thao River. They built their base in Bao Ha which became their fort on the North West part, in the Red River. This became the army’s strongest base wherein General Bay trained his men hard and eventually gave up his life to redeem Quy Hoa, and ultimately for his country’s honor.


General Bay’s body was thrown into the Red River, but it drifted back into the shores of Bao Ha. In commemoration and pride for his bravery and loyalty, Bao Ha residents built a shrine to worship the general. Kings Minh Menh and Thieu Tri of the Nguyen Dynasty gave him the titles “Glorious Guard of the Frontier” and “Deity of National Defence” to remember his courageous act. Some ethnic groups like Kinh, Tay and Dao are so impressed with what the general did that they consider him not just a soldier, but in fact a god.


General Bay’s heroism is so highly regarded that people, not only locals but foreign visitors as well, gather every 17th day of the seventh month of the lunar year every year to celebrate his anniversary. Staunch pilgrims even begin journey to the temple as early as the first lunar month. Bao Ha Temple is recorded to welcome around ten thousand tourists annually especially in the last seven years.


For the die-hard followers of General Bay and pilgrims in general, Bao Temple gives them the opportunity not only to honor the great general but to practice their faith as a whole, a merge between history and religion which can only be experienced in Vietnam.

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