Gian Gua (Malayan Banyan tree) historical relic site in Phong Dien district, Can Tho city, Vietnam; was a relic associated with the reclaiming of the land, and was an army base of the South Vietnamese Liberation Army before 1975.
Previously, this relicsites area had a very large area but due to the destruction of war bombs and the impact of the environment, it’s only about 2,740 m² nowaday. In this relicsite, there is a banyan tree, with the age of more than 150 years, developing many limbs, branches, intertwined to form a large truss so people in the area called "Truss of banyan tree". Currently this tree has a total area of over 2,700 m², an average height of about 12 m.
Todays, no one knows exactly the origin of this banyan tree. Many old villager over the age of 70 confirmed that when they were young, the truss covered a large area. Stemming from folk beliefs, from here, people built a shrine to worship the Cố Hỷ Lady, a divinity who is respected as a benefactor of the villagers. The old temple was damaged by war. The present temple was founded in 1996.
According to an ancient anecdote, there was a Nguyen family coming to this land to reclaim. During the reclaiming process, unfortunately, the fire burn the banyan tree and the landscape became desolate. In the village there are many people had strange sickness that couldn’t cured. There was a mage from other place who came to pick up medicine to save the villagers. He said that this is a sacred land, where the Cố Hỷ lady is staying. The banyan tree was burnt, so she got angry because there was no place to go back. If the villager want have a prosperous life, they have to replant the banyan tree and make annual ceremonies to worship her.
Over 6 generations, the descendants of the Nguyen family still live on this land and take turns to preserve this worship place. Every year, in February 28th of lunar calendar, the Nguyen family in this area and other places come here for offerings to the lady divinity.
Due to the extreme and remote terrain, during the Indochina War and the Vietnam War, Truss of banyan tree historical relicsite used to be the place where the important meetings of the South West Party Committee, Provincial Committee of Can Tho; a place to hide weapons and secret documents; is also the place to train, gather and transfer the soldier. Consider:
- In 1961-1965, this was the training place for the urban special task forces.
- In preparation for the General Offensive and Uprising of Tet Mau Than in 1968, Can Tho military selected the Truss of banyan tree as a hiding place for weapons and ammunition. From here, moved along to the channel of Ba Tho, the South Vietnamese Liberation Army transfered weapons to Rach Sung and Ba Hiep estuary to Can Tho River to attack the headquarters of the United States and the Republic of Vietnam in Can Tho city.
- In 1975, this was the gathering place of the soldiers from to liberate Can Tho in April of that year.
Because of the unique landscape and magnanimous history, Gian Gua has been attracting many domestic and foreign tourists.
Ngọc Thiên Thanh