Remote Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn, Duy Phú, Quảng Nam, Việt Nam Published on: 03-11-2016
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Why My Son Sanctuary is special ?
The Cham Kingdom had two sanctuaries belonging to two main opposing clans. My Son of the Dua Clan, ruled over the north of the kingdom and was the place for the worship of God Srisana Bhadresvara. The Cau Clan, who reigned over the south had Po Nagar Sanctuary, dedicated to Goddess Po Nagar. Nevertheless, My Son was considered as the sanctuary of the Cham Kingdom.
The first constructions date back to the 4th century under the reign of Bhadravarman for the worship of God Shiva-Bhadresvara. But later on, the temple was destroyed. At the beginning of the 7th century, King Sambhuvarman had it rebuilt and rebaptized Sambhu-Bhadresvara. Each new monarch came to My Son after his accession to the throne, for the ceremony of purification and to present offerings and erect new monuments, which explains why My Son is the only place where Cham art flourished without interruption from the 7th to the 13th century.
What to explore at My Son Sanctuary?
The temples in My Son were built into groups that basically followed the same model. Each group was comprised of a main sanctuary (kalan), surrounded by towers and auxiliary monuments. The kalan, which is a symbol of Meru Mountain (centre of the universe, where the gods live) is dedicated to Shiva. The small temples are devoted to the spirits of the eight compass points. In the towers, topped with tiled, curved roofs, were stocked the offerings and sacred objects of the pilgrims. Cham temples do not have windows, so they are very dark inside. Windows are only found on the towers.
The temples are really ruins; only at the first part of the complex (groups B and C) they are standing upright though also heavily damaged. The damage comes from bombing during the Vietnam War (you can still see the craters), but also from age. Most of the interior decorations and sculptures have been taken from here to the Champa museum in Da Nang. Only a couple of them are on show now here, at temples D1 and D2. From these sparse remains one can only guess how they might have looked like in their heydays.
How to get to My Son Sanctuary?
In a small valley in Duy Tan Commune, Duy Xuyen District of Quang Nam Province (about 70km southwest of Danang and 40km from Hoi An)
- Great place to visit
- My Son Holyland - What an experience
- Beautiful Lost City!
- A must-visit place when in Da Nang
- Excellentlly restored temple, very nice little museum
Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn, Duy Phú, Quảng Nam, Việt Nam
Tips for you
My Son is about an 1 to 1.5 hour drive from Hoi An. We took a private vehicle, although there are any number of hotel organised and tour organised tours, including buses, mini-vans and private vehicles. The ruins are grouped into 5 or so areas, and you are naturally led through each section. The first is the most spectacular and worth the most time. Most of the other sections are pretty much just ruins, having been bombed heavily during the Vietnam War, or just generally left to fall over. There are attempts to rebuild and maintain many of the ruins, but it will remain to be seen how close to the original the restorations are. Apparently there are pretty detailed drawings of the original ruins, so they should be able to get close. Unfortunately (or fortunately) you can pretty much walk over most of the ruins, and many of the artifacts are just sitting on shelves or in sheds. I'm sure many of these will be stolen over time, as 'tourists' decide stone statues etc would look much better on their own mantle piece than left alone. There is little to no security in the area, so it's worth having a look before everything is stolen, falls over, or is 'restored' with modern looking bricks and little attention to the original designs. However, still worth checking out if you have a few days in the Hoi An area.
A MUST DO on your trip to Vietnam. Outdoors with an amazing history. What a legacy. Being declared a World Heritage site is so important. It is such a pitty that war also impacted this wonderful site and destroyed such ancient history. When you go make sure you are there in time for the dancers - the short entertainment just adds to the mystery of the place. What a peaceful environment of water and forest. The trip to My Son and back was also interesting. Our guide stopped at a home business where a lady makes rice products. My wife even baked a rice pancake. The overall experience of driving to My Son and back, seeing how people live and also experiencing aspects thereof and then visiting this majestic place of incredible history was absolutely great. Amasing craftsmanship at the time of its construction.
Don't miss this place! 72 temples in a holy hidden valley in the middle of the forest. Magic atmosphere.