My Son Sanctuary is set in a small valley belonging
to Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province, about 70km
southwest of Danang City and 40km from Hoi An City. Of the 225 Cham
vestiges that are founded in Vietnam, My Son possesses 71 monuments and
32 epitaphs, the content of which is still being studied.
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.
Architecture in My Son
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.
Cham towers and temples are built of bricks
associated with sandstone decorations. It is quite noteworthy that no
adhesive can be seen in between the bricks, which is amazing since some
of the works have survived thousands of years. The structures were
built, and only then did the sculptors carve the decorations of floral
patterns, human figures or animals. This technique is unique in Asia.
kalan in My Son is comprised of three parts: the bhurloka
(foundations), the bhurvaloka (body of the tower) and the svarloka
bhurloka represents the terrestrial world. It is decorated all the way
round by engravings of patterns, animals, human characters praying under small
vaults, masks of Kala or Makara (monsters), dancers, musicians…
bhurvaloka symbolises the spiritual world where, after being purified, men
could meet the ancestors and the gods. It is built with very thick bricks
(about 1m thick), but its height can vary from one monument to the next. The
outside is decorated with pilasters, false doors or windows.
svarloka usually has three storeys in the same style as the base, and
features a main door and other, false, ones. It is decorated with small
sandstone or brick statues representing mythical animals, which are mounts
ridden by gods in the Indian tradition: birds, swans, buffaloes, elephants or
lions. There are small decorative towers at the corners of the 1st
and 2nd storeys. This roof, made of sandstone or brick, can be
either pyramidal or boat-shaped.
Methods used to identify
and categorise the style of the My Son Sanctuary
In 1895, C.
Paris, a French scholar, was the first one to clear the My Son Sanctuary. Then,
many scientists came to My Son to study Cham epitaph, sculpture and
architecture such as Henri Parmentier, C. Carpeaux, P. Stern…
to Henri Parmentier, the temples of My Son were classified into groups of
letters (A, A’, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and K), and then numbered according to
their functions. It starts with the main sanctuary, the kalan, (number
1), then the gate tower (number 2), and so on. Even though these categories
break up the architectural complex of My Son as a whole, they are remarkably
efficient for the study and maintenance of the ruins.
In December, 1999, at the 23th meeting of World
Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Marrakesh,
Marocco, My Son was recognised as world cultural heritage based on two
prominent criterions: criterion (ii)
an exceptional example of cultural interchange, with an indigenous society
adapting to external cultural influences, notably the Hindu art and
architecture of the Indian sub-continent and criterion (iii) the Champa Kingdom was an important
phenomenon in the political and cultural history of South – East Asia, vividly
illustrated by the ruins of My Son.
Ticket Price:(including fees for electric
car and cultural performances)
- Vietnamese visitors: VND 60,000/person;
- International visitors: VND 100,000/person;
- There's no admission charge for children under 16 years old.
Opening time: Summer: From 6:00 to 17:00
Winter: From 6:30 to 17:00
(The relic opens on all days of the week, including weekends and holidays)
Transportation: Electric car system with 6 to 8 seats transports visitors
from Khe The Bridge to the sanctuary (about 2km).
Tourism activities at My Son:
- Cham folk art performance: 3 times per day (at
9:30; 10:30; 14:30), (daily held). - My Son Community Tourism Village,
Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province.
My Son Relic and Tourism Management Board Add: Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam
Tel: (84-510) 3731 757 - 3731 309;
Fax: (84-510) 3731 361