Kiep Bac Temple is located in the villages of Duoc Son and Van Kiep, Hung Dao commune (Chi Linh city), is the place of worship for Hung Dao Dai Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan, the national hero and the cultural celebrity.
Overview of Kiep Bac Temple
Kiep Bac is a compound name of two regions Van Yen (Kiep village) and Duoc Son (Bac village). This is an important relic of the Con Son - Kiep Bac vestige.
Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan is an outstanding celebrity of the Vietnam nation, an ancient military genius of the world. With the responsibility as Quoc Cong Commander, with full command of the army, Tran Quoc Tuan has led the army and people of Dai Viet to miracles of defeating two invasions of the Mongol- Nguyen invaders. His talents and virtues are recorded in history books together with his glorious victories and famous quotes expressing his patriotic spirit "Your Majesty, please cut off my head before surrendering", or "Take care of the people’s strength for firm and enduring means and schemes", "The birds that want to fly high must rely on the 6 wing bone pillars" to rule the country; and his two works "A brief war manual" and "Calling to fight against the enemy" which is often referred to as the "Appealing Generals and Soldiers". Currently, in the block of wooden copies of the Nguyen Dynasty, there are still many inscriptions recorded about his life and career.
After Tran Quoc Tuan's death, the Court conferred him the title of National Senior Master Patriarch Commander Hung Dao Dai Vuong. According to his latest will, his corpse was cremated and put in a copper jar and buried in An Lac garden near An Sinh forest; and level the grave for tree planting, without building any tomb. People mourn, respect and honor him as Duc Thanh Hung Dao Vuong, and set up a temple of Duc Thanh Tran in Kiep Bac Temple and in many other places in the country. Wooden copy of Kham Dinh Vietnamese history Thong Giam Cuong Muc, volume 8, inscription 36 has recorded about this as follows: “Now Quoc Tuan passed away, and is awarded the title of Senior Master Patriarch National Duchy Hung Dao Dai Vuong. People in Lang Giang Chau built temples. Note that: Hung Dao Vuong Temple, in Van An commune, Luc Ngan district, Lang Giang (i.e. Kiep Bac Temple, now in Chi Linh City).
Temple of Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan is well known for holiness all over the country. Wooden copy of the Complete Book of Ngu Che Vietnamese History, volume 10, the engraved face 2 has recorded: “After he died, he was awarded the Title of Hung Dao Dai Vuong. There are temples in Chi Linh, Van Kiep where, when people come to pray for anything, their wish come true. Every time when there was a war in the country, the authorities immediately came here to report about this. If the sword in the casket rang, then go fight the enemy, it would be great victory".
Two among nearly 70 inscriptions recording the life and career of Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan are also preserved in the Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks - World documentary heritage (photo taken from the National Archives Center IV)
In the year of Dinh Mui (1427), Governing King Le Loi had Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan Temple repaired. Book of Kham Dinh Vietnamese History, book 14 says: “Vuong ordered to have Hung Dao Dai Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan Temple repaired. Quoc Tuan is a famous general of the Tran Dynasty. Around the Trung Hung period (1285-1292), he was the most credible in defeating the Nguyen invader. When he died, people set up a temple on Van Kiep mountain. This temple has a reputation for being sacred. Binh Dinh Duong dispatched Duong Thai Nhat to repair the temple, forbidding to cut trees around it. Then Duong ordered the people to follow the ritual of worshiping the temple from the gods of previous generations”.
During the reign of King Tu Duc, in the spring of Mau Dan year (1878), King Tu Duc sent someone to the temple of Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan in Hai Duong to make a secrete pray for an omen of giving birth. Wooden copy of Dai Nam Thuc Luc Chinh Bien De Tu Ky, volume 59, engraved page 24 has inscriptions on this as follows: In early spring, the General Governor of Hai Duong, Pham Phu Thu and the governor of Bac Ninh Le Huu Ta were asked to secretly pray (for an omen of giving birth) at Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan Temple (located in Kiep Bac commune, Hai Duong province, bordering Bac Ninh province). In May, King Tu Duc had 2 poems that he composed for Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan carved at the temple. At that time, the mandarins of both Hai Duong province and Bac Ninh province prayed and asked for permission to carve these two poems, the King said: Hung Dao Vuong was loyal to the national defense cause, deserving to be commended, and then the King standardized the way to engrave.
Today, Kiep Bac Temple has become a familiar destination for not only of the people of Hai Duong but also the people all over the country to commemorate the merits of Duc Thanh Tran, Quoc Cong Tiet Che, and to pray for a blessed year. Here, there are also many unique cultural activities, typical of which is the holy service performance.