My Son Sanctuary - One of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
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My Son Sanctuary, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a worth-visiting sample of the ancient Champa civilization. It is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa..
The destination is a complex of more than 70 architecture works including temples, tombs, towers, and sculptures of Cham Pa civilization, standing imposingly in poetic mountainous sceneries. Over thousands years, despite the ruins of war and time, resplendent vestiges of the sanctuary still take your breath when you visit here.
According to the history, architecture works in My Son were built by Kings of Champa, showing the most sophisticating and highlighting features of the architecture in this period of time. It is a very important place for worshiping and sacrificing of Cham Pa reigns. My Son was also a political centre and a royal burial ground and the complex consists of more than 70 structures devoted to Hindu gods and goddesses and the most noticeable one, Shiva, was considered the protector of the Champa’s kings.
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.
Like many historic sites around the world, My Son was destroyed by time and wars and after lying neglected for a long time it was rediscovered and renovated by the French in 1898. Sadly the most recent war did great damage to the complex as the Americans bombed this area knowing that the Viet Cong used it as a hiding place, mistakenly thinking that the enemy would not touch a holy site. However, the majority of the central complex managed to survive the bombs and parts of the ruins have now been rebuilt. Overall, this Hindu sanctuary reminds visitors of other similar sites in Southeast Asia including the great Angkor Wat in Cambodia. A must-visit for those who love history.
Especially, visiting My Son, you can have chance to admire attractive Apsara dance – a Khmer classical dance. It is very interesting experience when watching amazing Apsara dancers performing in fanciful and mysterious beauty of My Son ruins, under the stunning glow of sunset.
Opening Hours: All year round. The best time to visit is early in the morning before it gets too hot and when it is not too busy.
Location: In a small valley in Duy Tan Commune, Duy Xuyen District of Quang Nam Province (about 70km southwest of Danang and 40km from Hoi An).