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Mother Au Co temple opens (Januray 27, 2005)

An idol of the mother Au Co placed in the main temple.
A temple dedicated to the legendary Au Co, mother of the ancient Hung King, believed to be the founder of the Vietnamese nation, was unveiled at Hung Temple in the northern province of Phu Tho yesterday.

The new temple is part of a complex dedicated to the Hung Dynasty after Phu Tho authorities decided to relocate the original Au Co temple in Hien Lương Commune to the 147-metre high Van Mount in Hy Cuong Village.

Phu Tho Culture and Information Department's Nguyen Ba Thien explained the three-year construction was difficult due to the elevated site and aesthetic demands of the project.

"High-quality was our top priority," said Thien.

"We want the temple to stand firm in all weather conditions, and represent the characteristics of the Hung period."

The inauguration of the temple took place in the lead-up to the Hung King festival on April 18.

Legend explained

A Vietnamese legend describes how around 2900 BC, couple Lac Long Quan and Au Co had 100 children. Fifty sons followed their father to the sea and the other half followed their mother to the mountains.

When the family arrived at Hien Luong on Ha Hoa Mount in Phu Tho, mother Au Co and her children were so captivated by the area's fertility and stunning landscapes they decided to settle there, and this was where the eldest son was crowned Hung Vuong (Hung King). They grew rice and mulberry to raise silk worms for cloth.

When Au Co rode a five-colour cloud to heaven, she left a halter top underneath a banian tree, and locals dedicated a temple to her at this site.

Stairway to heaven

Five-hundred stone steps lead to three entrances, with a 5.8m- tall main gate decorated by the national bird of Lac.

Inspired by Dong Son culture, building materials were selected from across the country to incorporate modern and traditional features.

The main temple faces west and bronze casts of the generals Lac Hau and Lac Tuong stand sentry beside the central statue of Au Co.

Annexes on each side contain two bronze reliefs depicting the scenes of sons following their father to the sea and Au Co leading 50 others to the mountains. (VNS)

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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