63 Hải Phòng, Thạch Thang, Đà Nẵng
Caodaism was founded in Vietnam in the early 1920s, based on the main religions of the East and West and takes as its saints characters from different cultures, such as Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo, Shakespeare and Lenin. Today the religion has approximately 1.5 million followers. The Cao Dai temple in Da Nang (Trung Hưng Bửu Tòa), the second largest in the country, houses representations of the Divine Eye, the emblem of the doctrine, as well as the founders of Islam, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.
Watching Caodaists pray is one of the major highlights when visiting the temple as they dress in long flowing robes of white for lay followers, yellow, blue or red for priests whilst bishops have the Divine Eye embroidered on their headpieces. During worship, men are seated on the right and women on the left with all devotees seated in orderly rows. The building is a combination of Neo-Gothic, Baroque and Oriental design and is very ornately decorated including dragon wrapped pillars, seven-headed cobras and ceilings of sky blue.
The most colourful time to visit is when noon prayer is taking place, but do be respectful and wait until prayers have finished. Once completed you are welcome to wander inside to check out the interesting interior, decorated with typical Cao Dai ornamentation – note the globe at the rear of the interior holding the all-seeing eye.
A sign reading Vạn giáo nhất lý (all religions have the same reason) hangs from the ceiling in front of the main altar. Behind the gilded letters is a picture of the founders of five of the world’s great religions: Mohammed, Laotse (wearing Eastern Orthodox–style robes), Jesus, a Southeast Asian–looking Buddha and Confucius (looking as Chinese as could be).
Behind the main altar sits an enormous globe with the Cao Dai ‘divine eye’ symbol on it. As with all Cao Dai temples, prayers are held four times a day, at 5.30am, 11.30am, 5.30pm and 11.30pm