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My Son Da Nang: Architectural complex of ancient Champa temples

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My Son Da Nang – the popular name of My Son Sanctuary is a famous Quang Nam province historical heritage site with an architectural complex of many extremely unique Champa temples.  The relic was discovered in 1885 and designated by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1995. My Son Sanctuary – My Son Da Nang is nestled deep in the valley, surrounded by undulating mountains. 

Previously, this location was used for worship and the burial of ancient Champa monarchs. This area is around 2 kilometers in diameter and contains about 70 temples and towers with many historical architectural aspects that depict each step of ancient Champa’s development. My Son Sanctuary, which was built around the fourth century during the reign of King Pham Ho Dat, is a center of worship for Linga and Shiva. After two centuries, the temple burned down in a massive fire. And in the seventh century, King Pham Phan Chi constructed the temples, which are still standing today. 

What makes My Son Sanctuary (My Son Da Nang) so popular among tourists from all over?

The panoramic My Son Sanctuary's view
The panoramic My Son Sanctuary’s view – Source: Internet

The architecture of My Son Sanctuary is divided into six distinct styles: ancient, Hoa Lai, My Son, Ponagar, Dong Duong, and Binh Dinh. When visiting My Son Sanctuary, tourists will notice the following architectural characteristics:

  • Carved stone statues
  • Statues of the god Siva
  • Statues of female dancers dancing in the Champa style 

Over time, the relic site was also partially destroyed by the US military’s bombing raids on Vietnam. However, many intact towers with unique architecture still attract tourists. 

Explore the panoramic My Son Sanctuary’s view

My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary – Source: Internet

My Son Sanctuary contains over 70 elaborately carved temples with several important inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham. This relic was forgotten until 1898, when a Frenchman and his companions discovered it hidden in a forest in the midst of a valley surrounded by two breathtaking mountains.

The bricks used to build the old towers are another distinguishing characteristic of My Son Sanctuary. The bricks are baked, chopped into blocks, and precisely assembled without the use of adhesives. My Son Sanctuary has not weathered over the years, with only a little crack appearing.

Experience the unusual 8-meter-wide ancient road

This is the historic route leading to the My Son Sanctuary heritage site, which was uncovered by an Indian specialist while working to restore the central towers in the heritage area. The old road is 8 metres wide and has two parallel walls that are 1 metre underneath. According to historical documents, this is the road leading straight to the heritage center, where there is a large gate tower used for worship where only kings, royal family members, and noble dignitaries can attend. AAncient Champas are permitted to enter. The wall structure along both sides of the road is gently and beautifully sculpted.This significant discovery has helped to reinforce the long-standing historical ideals that My Son Sanctuary represents.

Enjoy the lovely Apsara dance

What is unique about My Son Sanctuary? This venue showcases an Apsara dance inspired by Apsara-sculpted sandstone statues. This is a fluid, flexible dance called “Soul of Stone” that honors women’s elegant curves. This dance is currently performed in Quang Nam province’s important art programs and for tourist groups visiting My Son Sanctuary. The picture of females with long, slender fingers, round breasts, and sensuous curves in shimmering, brilliant costumes will transport you to the ancient land of Champa, accompanied by the music of Paranung and Paranung drums. The music of the Saranai flute captivates travelers even more.

Immerse yourself in the traditional Kate festival of Cham

Kate Festival is a significant festival for the Cham people. According to the Cham calendar, it usually occurs in July each year. Suppose your travel schedule coincides with the Kate festival, not only will you be able to visit unique heritage sites. In that case, you will also be able to immerse yourself in rituals to pray for peace, a procession of ceremonial costumes, and Kate, the water procession… The event will showcase a variety of unusual musical acts, as well as traditional props and exquisite dances by the artists, making it tough to look away

Pay attention when visiting My Son Sanctuary

My Son Da Nang
My Son Da Nang – Source: Internet

Quang Nam’s weather is divided into two seasons: rainy (September to December) and dry (February to August). February through April are often the best months to visit My Son Sanctuary. The weather will be pretty cool without harsh sunlight, but you should still bring an umbrella, a thin jacket and sunscreen. 

Where to stay when visiting My Son Sanctuary?

The beauty of My Son Sanctuary
The beauty of My Son Sanctuary – Source: Internet

Because the My Son Sanctuary heritage site is normally open from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., travelers frequently opt to visit My Son Sanctuary, Da Nang, or Hoi An during the daytime hours. Take advantage of the next days to thoroughly enjoy the “Central Heritage Road”.  It is advisable to find a decent hotel that is close enough to the area’s popular tourist spots. The distance between Hoi An and My Son Sanctuary is roughly 50 kilometers. You may get to My Son via Hung Vuong Street and National Highway 1A. For many travelers who enjoy exploring and traveling by motorcycle, this road is an excellent site to test their strength; it only takes approximately 2 hours by vehicle to get there.

Driving a car or motorcycle, take Highway 1 to Nam Phuoc town for about 39 kilometers, then turn west on Road 537 for about 9 kilometers to Tra Kieu. From Tra Kieu, travel approximately 12 kilometers to the three-way intersection, then turn left, follow the signage, and continue 9 kilometers to My Son. To reach the My Son Sanctuary heritage site, continue on the mountain road for another 5 minutes before walking down the stone route.

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