Tran Temple, also known as Noi Lam Temple (temple located inside the forest) is located in Trang An eco-tourism complex, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. According to legend, the temple was built by Kings of Tran Dynasty to serve their religious activities of years living in Vu Lam; simultaneously, it was home to prepare for the war against the Mongol invaders. Tran Temple is the sacred place worshiping God Quy Minh and Princess Minh Hoa, Quy Minh's wife. Also legendarily, God Quy Minh, a General of Hung Kings was assigned with his mission of controlling Son Nam region. Discovering Tran Temple is one of the most things to do in Ninh Binh.
It will take more than one hour for tourists to sail through the caves, namely Sang (Morning) Cave or Toi (Evening) Cave, then climb up hundreds of winding stone steps, down the valley before setting foot on Noi Lam Temple. Located among a small slit of the mountain, there is a cliff 250m high on the left of the temple's courtyard, which is adjacent the walkway to the monument. As one of the spiritual attractions in Ninh Binh, the temple was built in "Nhi" (Two) letter-style in the kanji consisting of two adjacent buildings. The outside building includes 3 compartments with small scale. The center compartment is the largest among them. The roof was vaulted with concrete dome, yet the green stones were used for paving the ceiling instead. The center of the roof was decorated with 2 dragons reaching each other. It is also relatively familiar architecture of the temples in Ninh Binh and Vietnam temples as well. The carvings in Tran Temple are extremely sophisticated and highly aesthetic.
The outside building has no doors but 2 rows of stone pillars. The first row consists of 4 pillars made of monolithic green stones. Outer surface of the pillar are embossed with themes of dragons, clouds, waves, carp turning into dragon, lion and stylized flowers. Hand sides of these 4 pillars are decorated with two parallel sentences carved into the shafts. The second row is also made of monolithic green stones. Two pillars in the outer position are decorated with the dragon and theme of styled-flowers. The other in the middle are decorated with 2 parallel sentences. These carvings retain high aesthetics. The unique architectural features contribute to promote Tran Temple to become one of the fascinating Ninh Binh attractions. This will definitely be one of the unforgettable experiences in the journey of exploring Ninh Binh travel to tourists.
Monolithic green stones are also material used in altars at the sanctum of outside building as well as in the center of the harem. In the sanctum of Tran Temple is statue of God Quy Minh and Princess Minh Hoa, his wife. There are 4 rows of stone pillar in the sanctum whose foundation is made of greenstones decorated themes of the lotus. The statue of God Quy Minh is carved in a sitting posture on the pedestal with hat on his head, mace in the right hand and his left hand clenched in his lap. Statue of Princess Minh Hoa is also carved in a sitting posture with her gentle face, eyes seeing straight, her right hand holding fan cross the belly and her left hand facing down on her knees. On the right side of the temple is an opencast altar worshiping Goddess Thuong Ngan (Princess of the Forest). Tran Temple along with the other Ninh Binh temples has created a continuous spiritual tourist site attracting numerous domestic and international tourists.
In particular, Tran Temple also attracts tourists thanks to its unique festival. As the traditional festival in Ninh Binh, Noi Lam Temple Festival annually attracts thousands of tourists participating in. The festival takes place mainly on the river with unique rituals reflecting the spiritual life of the locals. Tourists going to Tran Temple in the festival not only admire the charming beauty of the Trang An tourist complex but also have a chance to participate in unique and exciting activities in the temple. The journey on exploring caves in Trang An, climbing and lighting the incense in the temple surely satisfies the demands of tourists.
The romantic and charming natural scenery in the harmonious combination with unique architecture of the temple is actually the highlights alluring tourists in the journey of exploring Ninh Binh tours to the ancient temple. Here, tourists will be immersed in the wonderful scenery nowhere else can be found. Tran Temple thus plays an important role in promoting Ninh Binh tourism to numerous international friends.