My Son Sanctuary – admire the unique Cham Pa architectural complex

by Lam Pham

My Son Sanctuary is the next choice next to Hoi An Ancient Town which you must visit if you have the opportunity to come to Da Nang. Although it does have a nostalgic beauty, it still retains the bustle of the neighborhood. My Son Sanctuary has a quiet beauty, in harmony with the years, there are still many relics that exist as evidence of an extremely flourishing development of the Cham Pa kingdom. In this article, let’s find out with Karst Plateau what is special about My Son Sanctuary.

1. General introduction about My Son Sanctuary

This place is famous for its beauty and profound cultural value

My Son Sanctuary belongs to Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province. Here, it is estimated that there are more than 70 temples and towers built between the seventh and thirteenth centuries. It is located near the ancient city of Tra Kieu, this is the land of worship and sacrifice of the Cham Pa dynasty, and also a shelter if the capital is unfortunately encroached.

The sanctuary has been continuously renovated and rebuilt throughout the reigns of Cham Pa kings over the centuries. Therefore, each temple tower has its own unique history and architecture. The most striking commonality of the towers is the quadrangular base plan, and the worship of Shiva himself, the Hindu god of creation and destruction.

Clearly reflecting the development process of Cham Pa culture, My Son ruins bring visitors closer to life, religion, and ancient civilization, as well as understand the value and aesthetics of the Cham people at that time. My Son Sanctuary is open to visitors from 6:30 – 17:30 every day of the week, with the following visiting prices:

  • For Vietnamese guests: 100,000 VND/person.
  • For foreigners: 150,000 VND/person.

2. Instructions on how to move to My Son Sanctuary

The road to My Son Sanctuary is also quite easy to travel and there are many means of transportation for you to choose easily:

2.1 Traveling by bus

From the center of Da Nang city, you take bus number 6 to go directly to My Son Sanctuary. Travel time is about 1h30 minutes with costs ranging from 8,000 – 30,000 VND / time.

2.2 Traveling by motorbike

You will start from the Hoa Cam flyover, running straight towards Highway 14B to Nguyen Trai. Next, you turn left and go straight to the Ranger pier. After crossing the ferry, you run along route 537 towards Nam Phuoc for about 1km will meet the directions, and you follow the instructions to reach My Son’s holy place.

2.3 Traveling by taxi

If you go by taxi you will save more time than the above 2 forms, but the cost will be higher if you go both ways by taxi.

3. Diagram of My Son Sanctuary

Architectural works in My Son Sanctuary are divided into 10 main groupsArchitectural works in My Son Sanctuary are divided into 10 main groups

According to archaeology, art researcher F.S. Tern divided the monument of the Vietnamese Cham people into 7 art styles according to their evolution. My Son Sanctuary has all kinds of styles, including 2 styles derived from My Son. Especially, My Son style A1 with the origin of the A1 temple is called the architectural masterpiece of Cham relics.

To facilitate research, archaeologists have divided the architectural works in My Son Sanctuary into 10 main groups: A, A’, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and K to make it easy to name each building in a combination of letters and numbers:

  • Group A and A’ are called Pagodas Tower area with 19 relics.
  • Group B C D is called the Market Tower area with 12 relics.
  • Groups E and F are called the Chessboard Tower area with 4 relics.

4. When should I visit My Son Sanctuary?

The ideal time to explore My Son Sanctuary is usually from February to April

Exploring My Son Sanctuary is a completely different experience compared to other tourist destinations in Da Nang. Located deep in the forest, the road to the ruins is often a difficult muddy dirt road. In particular, in the rainy season, most of the roads going inside the ancient tower are muddy, wet, slippery, and difficult to move.

Quang Nam has only 2 main seasons, the sunny season from February to August. The rainy season is from September to December. Therefore, the ideal time to explore My Son Sanctuary is usually from February to April. because this is the time after Tet, the sun is not too harsh and the weather is pleasantly cool, the photography is also much clearer and sparkling.

5. What does My Son Sanctuary attract tourists?

5.1 Mandapa Tower

You will admire the ancients’ delicate carvings and craftsmanship and the artfully sculpted patterns on the tower gate

This tower has a unique and strange architecture built in the image of a long house with a gate tower, this is chosen as a place to welcome pilgrims to offer offerings. When visiting Mandapa Tower, you will admire the ancients’ delicate carvings and craftsmanship and the artfully sculpted patterns on the tower gate.

5.2 Gate Tower

This Tower has two interconnected doors in the East and West directions

Also known as Gopura Tower. This is the spire located right in front of the Kalan tower. The distinguishing feature of Gopura Tower is that there are two connecting doors in the east and west directions. Looking out from this tower, you can easily watch the sunset, beautiful and fanciful.

5.3 Kalan Temple

This Temple has a height of 24m and is surrounded by 6 sub-towers

Kalan Temple is dedicated to the god Linga, also known as Shiva. This is a supreme deity in Hindu beliefs. Kalan Temple has a height of 24m and is surrounded by 6 sub-towers. In addition, this is also one of the main ancient towers of My Son Sanctuary tourist relics.

5.4 Enjoy the Apsara dance

The girls with natural beauty and flexible bodies deliver soft and attractive dances

The Cham Apsara dance is likened to the dance of fairies serving the gods, with slow, gentle, and graceful movements. Initially, this dance was used only in the court, and royalty. However, along with the development and expansion of culture, this dance is increasingly loved and included in folk life.

5.5 Immerse yourself in the Kate festival

Unique Traditional Festival of the Cham People

Kate Festival – an extremely important and sacred traditional festival for the Cham people. It takes place in July every year according to the Cham calendar. This festival has the meaning of remembering ancestors, and grandparents and wishing for the proliferation of all species. At the same time, the KatĂȘ festival is also a symbol of unity and mutual solidarity in the Cham community. Participating in this festival, visitors will have the opportunity to experience and discover the unique traditional rituals of the Cham people.

With the above experiences, Karst Plateau hopes you are ready to experience the ancient and sacred beauty of My Son Sanctuary. Although this place does not have modern towers, and many beautiful corners to check in, it itself has great historical and cultural value. Coming here, you will be able to go back hundreds of years, living in an ancient Cham Pa village with many unique architectural features that make you admire forever. If you have the opportunity to come to Da Nang, you must definitely go to My Son Sanctuary once to feel the spiritual pulse of this place.

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