My Son is a set of ruined Hindu temples in Central Vietnam, about 70 kilometers southwest of Danang. It was built during the 4th and 14th century by the various kings of the Champa Empire and are dedicated to the worship of the Hindu god Shiva. My Son is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 and is one of the primary Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia.
The temples of My Son are situated in a valley that is flanked by two mountain ranges. This was a site of religious ceremony for Champa kings as well a burial place for royalty and national heroes. There are over 70 architectural pieces present at the site. These include temples and towers that are linked to each other by obscure red brick designs. Images of gods, priests, animals and war scenes decorate the walls.
The structures at My Son follow a clear and distinct Champa architectural design. It is defined by high shrine towers with a door facing the east and false doors on the other sides. The doorways are of carved sandstone, similar to Khmer construction. The tower body has a system of six pillars with six sub towers surrounding the main one. The sub towers bear some resemblance to a lotus flower.
After the Viet’s conquest of Central Vietnam and the eventual decline of the Champa, My Son was abandoned and was largely forgotten. It was ‘rediscovered’ in 1898 by the French. A year later, the inscriptions, architecture and artwork of My Son were studied and the initial findings were published in 1904. During this time many of the artifacts in the area such as statues of female dancers and genies were moved to France or to museums in Vietnam, such as the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Danang. Others can be seen at temporary museums that have been set up in the area.
The temples at My Son went through numerous restorations in the 1930’s and the 1940’s. Unfortunately, some of the temples were destroyed during the war but the majority of the temples have survived to this day.
My Son has been compared with some of Southeast Asia’s great Hindu influenced temple sites such as Angkor in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar, Ayutthaya in Thailand and Borobudur in Indonesia. The similarities are that all these places were once leading spiritual centers that have survived to this day as impressive archeological sites.
The ruins at My Son are fascinating and are sure to captivate anyone who has a vested interest in Vietnam and its history. The surrounding jungle and vegetation that has grown onto these ruins have added a unique scenery to the area as well. Exotissimo’s A Day Hoi An and My Son – Danang day trip allows you to fully delve in to the rich history of Central Vietnam and the Cham Empire. After exploring the temples of My Son, experience Hoi An, a town that remains much the same as it was 200 years ago. We also have an extended Central Vietnam experience with our Discover Hue & Hoi An tour. Elegantly float along the Perfume River in Hue, experience the quaint town on Hoi An and explore the Cham ruins at My Son. You can also see our suggested Vietnam tours page for other memorable packages into this unique country.
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