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Po Nagar Cham Towers

2 thang 4 Rd., Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam

Situated in Cu Lao Hill, overlooking the South China Sea, Po Nagar Cham Towers is a typical tower-temple of Cham ethnic minority, which was built from VIII to XIII century. It is considered as the most wonderful scenic spot in Nha Trang - Khanh Hoa.

Po Nagar Cham Temples, also known as Po Nagar Towers is located on top of a small hill about 50 meters higher than sea level, near Cai River's estuary. It today belongs to Vinh Phuoc ward, far approximately 2 km from Nha Trang city center. The name "Po Nagar Cham Tower" is generally used to refer to the whole architectural works, yet in fact it is the name of the largest tower, about 23 meters high. Po Nagar Cham Towers owns a unique architecture and almost intactness over times.

 

Po Nagar Cham towers

 

The overall architecture of the tower consists of 3 floors with a gate tower on the first floor which was totally destroyed. In front of the relic complex are two rows of 10 large pillars and 2 small pillars on the 2 sides. On the body of the large pillars, the mortises are deeply carved into and horizontally symmetrized with the top of the small pillars. In the middle is an altar where the Cham people often organize cultural activities and solemn rites on festivals and special occasions. The second floor, called Mandapa (guesthouse), is the place where pilgrims can rest and prepare offerings and costumes before practicing the rite. On the third floor, there are four towers, including the 23m high Po Nagar Towers, which is the most outstanding and highest one. The four-storey tower symbolizes the beauty, art and creativeness of the Cham people.

 

Po Nagar Towers

 

Top of the tower is a statue of the god Shiva riding Nandin buffalo, and mascots, namely swans, goats, elephants... The outside of the tower's wall is decorated by dramatic sculptures in stone such as dancers, oarsmen, or hunter with his bow and arrow. The main entrance in the east leads into a vestibule. Both sides of the entrance are two stone pillars supporting another stone, which engraved Goddess Durga dancing between two musicians. Inside tower is quite dark and cold. Inside the tower, there is a statue of a goddess made of black granite, 2.6m high, sitting on a lotus-shaped stone base, leaning back on a large fig leaf-shaped stone plate. The goddess owns ten arms. Her 2 hands at the bottom is put on her knees, the others holds items such as cutlass, arrow, mace, spear in the right and bell, plate, and bow in the left. Besides, other towers are used to worship: God Siva (one of the three supreme gods of Hinduism), God Sanhaka, and God Ganeca (according to legend, they are sons of God Siva). Technically, all of towers are built in bricks and decorated in stone - ceramic materials; their contents are also associated with gods worshiped here. The stone sculptures representing different themes associated with temples create wonderful artistic architectures.

 

Durga ornament in Po Nagar towers

 

Po Nagar Cham Towers is typical architectural works of Cham sculpture and architecture. Particularly, construction techniques from VIII to XIII century is currently still a mystery though numerous researchers and scientific works have been carried out. Ways of bonding 20x20cm bricks to snugly fit together without any adhesives have not known yet. It is unique characteristics that tourists are much interested in the tower. In particular, the architectural ensemble still preserves numerous priceless ancient inscriptions of Cham people. Po Nagar Cham Tower is honored as national historical relics by Ministry of Culture in 1979. Thanks to its unique and excellent architectures, the temple-tower complex is the place of pilgrimage for believers to carry out the religious ceremonies, annually attracting a great number of tourists to take part in. In addition, taking part in Po Nagar Cham Tower Nha Trang travel, apart from escertaining about the history, architecture, spirituality, tourists also have the opportunity to admire Champa dances performed by Cham dance teams. Champa dances captivated tourists, actually giving a good impression when tourists set foot on.

 

Po Nagar Cham Towers panorama

 

Thanks to valuable remaining, from architecture to sculpture, inscriptions to legend, Po Nagar Cham Tower Nha Trang is worth a cultural-historical-artistic relics and an important scenic spot in Nha Trang tourism.

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