The Mysterious Beauty of the Oldest Holy Ground in Vietnam

Throughout time and history, the Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn (Holy ground of My Son) has put on the ancient-color dress which has captivated the eyes and interests of many scientists, tourists who are curious about the long-lost civilization of the Kingdom of Champak and what is left of it.

Located in the area of xã Duy Phú (Duy Phu Village), huyện Duy Xuyên (Duy Xuyên District), 70 km from Danang City and 40 km from the Old City of Hoi An, the Hinduism Holy ground belonged to the Kingdom of Champak that was here until the end of it history in 1832. According to the facts that were recovering, this Holy ground was known as the ground where, according to the tradition of the Champak, the kings after their coronations did the Purification, offered gifts to the gods and built temples.


This Holy ground was discovered in 1885 by French troops. Ten years later in 1895, an archeologist Camille Paris had come here to study and tried to understand the architects and the culture of the lost kingdom for the first time. From since to 1904, there were many researchers, scientists and archeologists had come here to reveal the mystery such as Louis Finot, Henri Permentier…


The Holy ground of My Son is located in a valley that the diameter is about 2km, surrounded by hills and mountains. The ground is divided into 70 architects including many groups of temples that were constructed with the same technique.


The building plan for each group is consists of the main temples, surrounded by many smaller towers or sub architects. According to the Champak culture, the main temple represented the Meru Mountain, the center of the universe where the gods was gathered and ruled by Shiva, god of all gods. The gates are in front of the main temple, where there are two doors that is connected each facing West and East. The temple of Mandapa has a unique roof-architect was where the place for the Hindus to come and honor the gods by the gifts and offerings. Next to the main temple are towers which consist one to two rooms. The door facing north was used as place to storage of gifts and offering from the Hindus. Other temples belong to other gods that protect the direction of where the temples are facing.


The architecture styles are divided into six: the Old, Hòa Lai (Hoa Lai), Đồng Dương (Dong Duong), Mỹ Sơn (My Son), Po Nagar, and Bình Định (Binh Dinh).
The common textures are flowers, leaves, animals such as elephants, lions, the Statue of Kala, Makara (a symbol statue of Champak), and Statue of the dancer Apsara, the musicians, the gods or the monster Makara…


From 1965 to 1972, the area of Duy Xuyen was a battlefield. Along with other neighborhoods, the Holy ground had taken heavily damage. Especially the bombards in 1969 had deformed most of the buildings and made some to collapsed or heavily damage. In 1980, in the Culture Cooperation program between Vietnam and Polan, the Champak resurrection committee had been formed and led by the late architect Kazimiers Kwiatkowske. In that period of time, the relics were cleaned, reinforced, and reconstructed. Thanks to the joint effort of two nations, the area regained the beauty it once had.


In order to preserve the relics throughout time, in 1995 the management committee of My Son relics was formed. In 1998 and 1999, the UNESCO profile to acknowledge the Holy ground as the World Heritage had been sent.
In December, 1999, the Holy ground of My Son was officially became the World Heritage by qualifying two standards: The model example of the inter-culture between the immigrant culture and the local. The impact of the culture from the outside, especially from the architects of Hinduism from India, had reflected the developing momentum of the Champak culture history in the South East Asia culture history.


In order to preserve the relics, the “green perimeter” built-out from tress had been established. Since then, the green had covered the relics.


Now, the relics are open for visiting on every day of the years. The domestic price is 60 and the international is 100,000 vnd.

The green sidewalk between the two temples.

Tuan Dao (637)


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