Located nearly 70 kilometers from Da Nang city, in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province, My Son Sanctuary appears with an architectural complex including many Champa temples and extremely unique architecture. Forgotten for a long time up to centuries, it was not until 1885 that it was discovered and in 1999 it was selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site as the only evidence of Asian civilization that has disappeared. If you are a tourist who likes to explore and learn about ancient culture, this is a place worth exploring.
What does My Son Sanctuary Tourism have?
My Son Sanctuary is a complex of Cham Pa temple relics in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province. It is 20 km west of Tra Kieu, 45 km west of Hoi An city, 68 km southwest of Da Nang city, 145 km south of Hue ancient capital. The area is located in a valley about 2 km in diameter, surrounded by hills and mountains. This used to be the place where sacrifices were held as well as the area of the tombs of kings and princes of the ancient Cham Pa dynasties. In 1999, My Son relic of Vietnam was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Starting the journey to explore the most mysterious Sanctuary in Vietnam, you can easily travel here by any means of motorbike or car. From Hoi An, about 50 km from My Son, the starting point is Hung Vuong Street running directly along National Highway 1A to My Son. Usually for tourists who are passionate about backpacking, love adventure, especially backpackers, it only takes you nearly 2 hours to arrive. The price of renting a motorbike is about 150,000 – 200,000 VND / day. Note to fill up your gas tank before you go and remember to monitor the weather forecast.
Bearing a long history
My Son Sanctuary dates back to about the fourth century – the earliest in My Son, King Bhadresvara built a temple dedicated to King Bhadravarman – the founder of the first line of kings in Amaravati at the end of the fourth century, assimilated with Siva, becoming a worship of god – king and royal ancestor. This is a complex of many temples of the Champa kingdom, located in a small valley about 2 km in diameter, surrounded by mountains and hills.
Bold architecture in My Son
This place is a complex with more than 70 temples and towers with many sculptural architectural styles typical of each historical period of the Champa kingdom. The architectural style here is divided into 6 types: ancient style, Hoa Lai, Dong Duong, My Son, PoNagar and the style of Binh Dinh people. Most of the architecture and sculptures in My Son are influenced by Hinduism.
Cham tile sculpting techniques rarely appear in other arts in other regions. The towers are all pyramidal, symbols of the divine Mount Meru, the abode of Hindu gods. The tower gate usually faces east to receive sunlight. The outer wall of the tower is often decorated with an S-shaped leaf pattern connecting each other. The decorations are sandstone sculptures of Makara (mythical beasts with sharp fangs and long trunks), figures of the dancer Apsara, lions, elephants, birds of the god Garuda, statues of people praying. They are snugly stacked together and to this day no research has identified the adhesive, humanoid, or shaped on the tower. The highlight of Cham sculpture art is to express the intense vitality of people with the interior when soaring refreshingly, at times calm and worried. Each historical period has its own mark with different architectural lines. My Son Sanctuary of Quang Nam not only shows the masterpiece of Champa architecture but also of Southeast Asian culture.
Overall My Son relics
The whole sanctuary: consists of two hills, facing each other in the direction of East – West and right at the intersection of a stream, the tributaries have become the natural boundary dividing this place into four areas A, B, C, D. This division fits with feng shui elements while avoiding the tearing of architectural wholes. The center of the Sanctuary is a main tower (Kalan) and many small sub-towers surrounding it. The main tower has two gates in the east-west direction, each with 8 steps for ascent and rolling arches. On each roll arch is a miniature tower, according to documents, this is the tallest of the holy towers in My Son with a height of 24m, the bottom of the tower is square, each side is 10m long. In the stupa is a large set of Linga-Yoni (now only a Yoni stone pedestal remains). The upper part of the tower has 3 floors, the floors gradually shrink and the top is the top of the sandstone tower. On each floor there are false doors, with a human figure standing under the roller arch. The two false doors on either side are two overlapping arches, decorated with very sophisticated patterns.
Time and war have devastated this monument heavily. But what remains here is still the mysterious beauty, unique architecture with distinct features of the Champa people. It is this that has attracted the curiosity of domestic and foreign tourists coming here to visit and explore. Children younger than 15 years old are free of charge (including tram fees to the monument and to watch musical performances). The local guides are very friendly, enthusiastic and hospitable. They have national pride, so the information they give you will be very different from if you go with a group guide.
My Son Sanctuary not only has its own unique architecture, but it is also bold Cham culture with gentle and flexible Cham dances. Unique to the sacrificial dances is the sacred dance directed to the gods in the temples and towers. Visitors will see Cham dancers often wearing candles, water, fruits, betel nuts to celebrate to look lively. Or the Apsara dance is a dance for the stage. The flexibility, smoothness praises the beauty, the beautiful curves that nature has bestowed on the beauties to easily enter the hearts of visitors when coming to My Son. In addition, this place also has many unique art activities such as folk performance art, fire bite dance, Celebratory dances, water dances… Surely will not disappoint visitors here. It is also a destination that attracts photographers who love the mystery, unique in the holy place. As one of the places for backpackers who like to learn and explore, stop here to take some memorable photos with friends or relatives.
Visitors not only stop to experience My Son relics but also around here there are a few places you should visit such as Tra Kieu Church, Our Lady of Tra Kieu, Sa Huynh – Champa Cultural Museum.
Or enjoy delicious, nutritious and cheap specialty dishes here: filter cake, Tam Ky chicken rice, Quang Nam green eel porridge, nest cake, Quang noodles .. with family and friends. Trust me, you’ll definitely want to come back here a second time.
Ticket price to visit My Son Sanctuary
- Overseas: 150.000 VND (including entrance fee and services).
- Vietnam: 100.000 VND (including entrance fee and services).
If you come in time for the festival taking place at My Son Sanctuary, the trip will become much more enjoyable and complete. You will witness the opening of the festival as Cham religious dignitaries perform rituals of prayer right at the tower according to the custom passed down so far. Many other traditional rituals take place in turn such as vestments, floats, water processions and Katê,… Moreover, there are many cultural exchanges, performances of Cham ethnic musical instruments, Cham dance performances of flexible and skilled artists,… The festival is an opportunity for indigenous people and tourists visiting at home and abroad to gain more knowledge about this place as well as contribute to maintaining and protecting the pure artistic values of ancient Cham culture.
The thousand-year-old road in My Son Sanctuary
The road was discovered by Indian experts during excavations and renovations of K tower located in the core area of My Son World Cultural Heritage complex. Up to 8m wide, the road is led by 2 parallel walls, the depth at which the road is buried is nearly 1m in the ground and according to recorded documents, this is the gate In the first lane, only kings, members of the royal family, and the highest dignitaries of Champa can enter the central temples and towers to sacrifice the gods and hold ceremonies. After excavations, experts were amazed at the grandeur of this road with its beautifully crafted guiding wall system, very characteristic materials such as terracotta and special adhesive additives for construction were also discovered. Thanks to this interesting discovery, it has helped to enrich the long-standing historical, architectural, cultural and artistic values that the ancients have created in the whole population.
Fanciful Apsara dance
Inspired by the stone statues of Apsara (dancer Yang Naitri) in reliefs or sandstone statues, transformed from stone into smoother, softer dances than ever expressing the beauty of the beautiful perfect curve of nature for women, Apsara dances are performed at mass art festivals and even professional stages. In all cultural events in Quang Nam in general or in My Son Sanctuary in particular, including the Kate festival, you will witness the fanciful dance – this enchanting “soul of stone” dance makes you feel lost in the ancient Cham culture with the image of girls with curved bamboo shoots, full breasts, seductive curves in brilliant, sparkling costumes, in the Paranung drumming and Sarainai whistleblowing, the dance is even more beautiful and flexible to make you fall in love.
This place not only preserves the ancient vestiges of a culture but also contains extremely unique historical, cultural, architectural and artistic values. If you come to Quang Nam and ignore the World Cultural Heritage of My Son Holy Land, it is really a great shortcoming for your journey.