Van Thuy Tu Temple

Ngu Ong Street, Mui Ne, Vietnam
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The Van Thuy Tu Temple on Ngu Ong Street (Fisherman Street, Duc Thang ward) is the oldest temple dedicated to whale worship.
Built in 1762, the temple now contains over 100 whale skeletons and other strange species of fish, most of which are 100-150 years old. Most noteworthy is a 22 meter whale skeleton, which is estimated to have weighed 65 tons when alive. The temple was recognised as a national relic site in 1996.
Its architecture is in the shape of the letter “Tam”, with its front side facing East. It was originally was built near Van estuary on the coast. In the temple is a large burial ground for dead whales, once stranded on the shore.
The whale-worship cult is thought to originate in early Kh’mer and Cham cultures, and thus predates every established religion in Vietnam. Little is officially known or documented by the outside world regarding the whale cult. The Whale god is believed to be a powerful spirit that can calm the waves and lead seafarers to shelter. He is known as ‘ngu ong’, which means ‘Mr. Whale’.

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Van Thuy Tu Temple on Ngu Ong Street (Fisherman Street, Duc Thang ward) is the oldest temple dedicated to whale worship.

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