This unique architectural monument, in the southern province of Tay Ninh, is what’s left of a long lost culture. Located on a high mound, right next to a paddy field in Binh Thanh Commune, the Binh Thanh temple is still in amazingly good condition today, even as other structures around it have crumbled to dust.
This ancient place of worship is said to be a rare vestige of an old culture called Oc Eo (Glass Canal), part of the Funan Kingdom, an ancient Indianised state that flourished in Southeast Asia from the first to the sixth century, centered in the Mekong Delta. The temple, 10 meters tall and 25 meters wide, was “discovered” in 1886.
The main entrance is one meter wide and two meters high. Above the entrance is a big rectangle stone slab with a floral design carved into it. The other entrances also have such stone slabs placed above them.
The temple was built with an unique technique whereby the stone bricks were “stuck” perfectly together without any cement or adhesive material.
Thousands of years ago, the people of Oc Eo worshipped Indian deities, which can still be found in the temple.
Inside the temple, the statue of the lingam, an abstract representation of Shiva, a Hindu deity.
Inside the temple the roof is narrowed by the amazingly precise placement of bricks.
The Binh Thanh temple and another one in Tay Ninh called Chop Mat are the only two left intact from the Oc Eo culture. The temples went through a restoration in 1998, but they are fading, day by day.
There used to be another temple here but it has collapsed into rubble.