In AD 192, an official successfully revolted against Chinese rule in Central Vietnam, and Champa kingdom was formed as a breakaway Chinese colony.
Between the 2nd and the 15th centuries Champa extended across the coast of what is today Central and Southern Vietnam before being conquered and annexed by Vietnam, as evidenced by many Cham temples and towers scattered throughout coastal southern Vietnam.
My Son – a former religious center as well as the capital of the Champa kingdom located inside the valley complex in the mountainous border Duy Xuyen District of Quang Nam Province, 70km from Da nang.
It is often compared with other historical temple complexes in Southeast Asia: such as Borobudur of Java in Indonesia, Angkor Wat of Cambodia, Bagan of Myanmar and Ayutthaya of Thailand.
The My Son temple complex is regarded as one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia and is the foremost heritage site of this nature in Vietnam.
As of 1999, My Son has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, at its 23rd meeting, UNESCO accorded My Son this recognition pursuant to its criterion C (II), as an example of evolution and change in culture, and pursuant to its criterion C (III), as evidence of an Asian civilisation which is now extinct. The “Holy Land” is extremely useful and meaningful for those interested in Southeast Asian culture, which owes its core to ancient Cham culture.
The My Son Sanctuary is a large complex of religious monuments originally consisting of more than 70 structures, today only 25 still exist in various states as a large majority of its architecture was destroyed by US carpet bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War. However the government is doing some projects of conservation and restoration My Son towers.
During the 4th to 13th centuries AD, this unique culture owed its spiritual origins to the Hinduism of the Indian sub-continent. Under this influence many temples are dedicated to the worship of the Hindu divinities such as Krishna and Vishnu, but above all Shiva – the destroyer, one of the three supreme gods in Hindu mythology.
Among the Cham towers’ architectural form, the population sanctuary as My Son is very unique and rare. The towers are usually arranged in clusters of two or more ones. There are walls, yards and roads linking the towers together. Each tower has its own function. They gather in groups in which the main temple is in the centre and each group is surrounded by thick walls of brick.
To this day, the construction techniques used by the Cham builders are not completely understood. The temples are also examples of the engineering skills of the Cham and their religious and political beliefs. Despite the fall of the Champa Kingdom, the Cham culture continues to survive.
If Hoi An Ancient Town – 50km from My Son enchants you by colorful lanterns along downtown streets by night, charming red towers in My Son surely amazes you in the sunset.