Tourists in Nha Trang’s Cham Towers

Nha Trang’s Cham Towers

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Nha Trang is a beautiful city long famous for is white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and mysterious island. However exploring the Champa architecture and culture as expressed through the Po Nagar towers is also a must-do.
The Cham towers of Po Nagar were built between the 7th and 12th centuries to honor Yang Ino Po Nagar, the Hindu goddess of the Liu clan who ruled over the southern part of the kingdom of Champa. The site was used for worship as early as the 2nd century.
Today, both ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists come to Po Nagar to pray and make offerings
Legend has is that once upon a moonlit night, a mysterious stranger. Yang Ino Po Nagar, stole come melons from the garden of a farmer called Tieu on Dai An (now Hoa) Mountain. She was caught red-handed, but pardoned and adopted by the garden’s owner. Later, her words of warning prompted people to take shelter from a sudden, ferocious deluge, thus saving the entire community from certain death.
When the floodwaters receded. Po Nagar re-created the world and taught the people farming and fishing. After fulfilling her mission, she turned herself into a piece of sandalwood and drifted into the Eastern Sea and black to heaven. The Cham came to refer to her as the Mother of the Land. She also became the most highly revered goddess of the Kinh ( Viet) people who settled in the area in 1653.
The original wooden structure was razed to the ground in 774 but was replaced by a stone-and-brick temple ( the first of its kind) in 784. There are stone slabs scattered throughout complex, most of which relate to religion providing insight into the spiritual life and social spiritual life and social structure of the Cham. Originally the complex covered an area of 500m and there were seven or eight towers, four of which still remain. All of the temples face east, which is to the right as people ascend the hillock. The 28-mettre-high North Towers, with is terraced pyramidal roof and vaulted interior masonry and vestibule, is a superb example of Cham architecture. One of the highest Cham towers was built in 817 after the original temples here were burned down. The raiders also carried of a linga made of precious metal. In 918 King Indravarman III placed a gold mukhaling ( a ligna engraved with the face of the god Shiva) in the North Towers, but it too was taken, this time by the Khmers. The pattern of staues being destroyed or stolen and then replaced continued. Above the entrance to the North Towers, two musicians flank a dancing four-armed Shiva, one of whose feet is on the head of the bull Nandin. The sandstone doorpost are covered with inscriptions, as are parts of the walls of the vestibule. A gong and a drum stand under the pyramid-shaped ceiling of the antechamber. In the 28-mettre-high pyramidal main chamber there is a black stone statue of the goddess Uma ( in the shape of Bhagavati) with ten arms, two of which are hidden under her vest: she is seated and learning back against monstrous animal. The Central Tower was built partly of recycled bricks in the 12th century on the site of a structure dating from the 7th century. It is less finely constructed than the other towers and has little ornamentation. The pyramidal roof lacks terracing or pilasters, although the interior altars were once covered with silver. There is a linga inside the main chamber. The Southwest Towers was once dedicated to Sandhaka. The pyramid shaped summit of the roof of the originally dedicated to Ganesh, has disappeared. The was Towers, of which almost nothing remains, was constructed by King Vikrantavarman during the first half of the 9th century.
Crossing the Xom Bong Bridge along Nha Trang’s April 2nd Avenue, the 20 meter baked brick Cham tower of Po Nagar, also known as Thap Ba.


Source: Thanh Binh - thevietnamnation

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