Nestled in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains on all four sides, the architectural complex of My Son Holy Land has an ancient, wild and mysterious beauty. Although heavily damaged by natural disasters and war, My Son is still one of the most unique tourist destinations in Quang Nam province, attracting thousands of tourists come to visit every year.

General information about My Son Holy Land

My Son Holy Land is located in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province, about 70 km southwest of Da Nang city, and about 40km from Hoi An city. The monument is located in a closed valley with majestic and profound mountain terrain in Quang Nam province, started in the 4th century by King Bhadravarman (reigned from 349 to 361) and completed at the end of the year 13th and early 14th centuries under the reign of King Jaya Simhavarman III.

My Son Holy Land

Here, 70 temples and towers crystallize the historical, cultural, architectural and artistic values ​​of the Champa civilization, and are considered on par with famous monuments in Southeast Asia such as Borobudur (Indonesia), Pagan (Myanmar), Angkor Wat (Cambodia), are the crystallization of historical, cultural, architectural, and artistic values ​​created over a period of 9 centuries (from the 4th century to the 13th century).

My Son Holy Land

Although heavily devastated by natural disasters and war, My Son Sanctuary still has traces of the foundations of 70 holy buildings, and temples; of which, retained 32 structures including 20 temples and towers that still retain their original architectural features. On December 1, 1999, My Son Holy Land was officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.

Entrance fare:

  • Foreigners: 150,000 VND/person
  • Vietnamese: 100,000 VND/person
  • Opening hours: every day from 6:30 am – 17:30 pm

System for the identification of buildings in My Son

Based on the location of the towers, H. Parmentier – a French scholar, named the towers according to the Latin alphabet, including groups A and A’ (Pagoda towers); Groups B, C, D (Market tower area); Groups E and F (Ho Khe tower area); Group G, Group H (Ban Co tower area); Individual towers are labeled as: K, L, M, N.

map of My Son

Art researcher F.S. Tern, divided the monuments at My Son based on the following styles:

  • Ancient style (My Son E1 style): 7th – 8th century, including towers E1, F1;
  • Hoa Lai style: late 8th century – early 9th century, including towers A2, C7, F3;
  • Dong Duong style: mid-9th century – early 10th century, including towers A10, A11, A13, B4;
  • My Son A1 style: 10th century, including towers A1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, C1, C2, C4, C5, C6, D1, D2, D4, E7;
  • Transitional style from My Son A1 style to Binh Dinh style: 11th – 12th centuries, including towers E4, F2;
  • Binh Dinh style: XIII-XIV centuries, including B1 tower, K tower, group G and H towers.

Unique architectural art of My Son Holy Land

Each tower usually consists of 3 parts: base, body and roof, built of bricks, combined with decorative panels of sandstone, with very sophisticated techniques. Decorative motifs on stone pillars along with round statues and sandstone reliefs often carved, create a beautiful, lively beauty with unique features. Art and architecture through the layout of temples and towers are greatly influenced by Indian style.

My Son Holy Land

The temples in My Son were built in many clusters, each cluster is arranged in the following order. The main temple (Kalan) is located in the middle (marked number 1 in H. Parmentier’s drawings), with a door in the East to receive sunlight, where the main deity (Shiva) is worshiped. The tower has a pyramid shape, symbolizing Mount Meru, the residence of Hindu gods.

My Son Holy Land

Inside the main temples in My Son, there is often a set of Linga – Yoni (symbol of male and female vitality according to the beliefs of the Cham people), or an image of the god Siva – the protector of the Champa kings.

Linga in My Son Holy Land

The Linga in My Son Holy Land

Yoni in My Son Holy Land

Yoni in My Son Holy Land

The gate tower (Gopura, symbol number 2) is located right in front of the main temple, with 2 interconnected doors in the East and West. This construction item that functions as a place to arrange offerings and dance and sing ceremonial rituals. Mandapa is the long house next to the gate tower, often used as a place to welcome pilgrims and receive offerings.

My Son Holy Land

Next to the main temple is the Kosagraha tower, with one or two rooms (symbol number 3), the door is in the North, often used as a place to store offerings.

My Son Holy Land

In addition, around the main temple there are also auxiliary towers, to worship the direction gods (Dikpalaka), star gods (Grahas), or secondary gods, such as Skanda, Ganesa,…

Most of these structures are now in decline, but there are still fragments of sculptures bearing the golden mark of the legendary Champa dynasties. Opposite tower cluster A, is tower cluster B (Kalan My Son B1) which is the central tower cluster of My Son Sanctuary.

My Son Holy Land

The Cham towers in My Son in particular and throughout Vietnam in general are built with bricks according to a technique that is still unknown to this day. The ancient Cham people did not use common adhesives, the bricks were just ground tightly, stacked but solid.

My Son Holy Land

At My Son Holy land, there are remains of a stone temple, the only stone temple of Cham relics. The stele at My Son said that the temple was last restored in 1234. When the French discovered My Son, only the temple’s foundation remained as it is today, above which was a huge pile of bricks that they had to clean up two in 2 months.

My Son Holy Land

Although heavily influenced by Hinduism, Buddhist symbols are also found in My Son, because Mahayana Buddhism became the main religion of the Cham people in the 10th century.

Cultural activities still maintain My Son

In addition to visiting historical buildings, visitors can also admire the Apsara dance inspired by the Apsara sandstone sculpture. Apsara dance is used to perform in important art programs of Quang Nam province as well as to serve tourist groups visiting My Son Holy Land.

My Son Holy Land

Another extremely important and sacred traditional festival for the Cham people is Kate Festival. Taking place in July every year according to the Cham calendar, this festival carries the meaning of remembering ancestors and wishing for the proliferation of all species.

My Son holy land

At the same time, Kate festival is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the Cham community. Participating in this festival, visitors will have the opportunity to experience and explore the unique traditional rituals of the Cham people, such as praying for peace, water procession, palanquin procession and many other activities.

Source: collected by An

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