Discovering the Enchanting World of My Son Sanctuary
The My Son Sanctuary is a collection of 70 abandoned Cham temples that are scattered across a valley in Central Vietnam. The sanctuary was built as the main Hindu worship center by the Champa kings who ruled the region the 4th to the 14th century. The Cham people, who are believed to have originated Indonesia, built the temples using bricks, sandstone, and terracotta tiles. During the Vietnam War, the US bombed the area, causing severe damage to the temples. However, the Vietnamese government has restored parts of the sanctuary to preserve its historical significance.
Walking through the temple complex is like taking a stroll through a living history book. The intricate carvings on the sandstone walls depict stories of Hindu mythology, and the architecture of each temple reflects the Cham culture's artistic and religious beliefs. The most notable temple in the sanctuary is the K-You Temple, which stands at 23 meters tall and is adorned with stunning carvings of gods, animals, and apsaras. The temple is also a tribute to the Cham king who commissioned it in dedication to Shiva, a Hindu deity.
The My Son Sanctuary is not just a place of historical value, but also a natural wonder. The temples are surrounded by lush forests, crystal-clear waters, and fresh mountain air. The setting makes for a serene and peaceful ambiance that is ideal for meditation and introspection. Visitors can even witness cultural performances, including dance shows that feature classical Vietnamese dance, Cham music, and traditional rituals.
One of the best ways to explore the My Son Sanctuary is by bike or foot. There are bike rentals and guided tours available that take you through the nearby villages and rice paddies, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture. Along the way, you can also indulge in local cuisine, such as the famous Quang-style noodle soup and Cao Lau, a dish of thick rice noodles, barbecued pork, and fresh herbs, served with a side of crispy rice crackers.
My Son Sanctuary is a marvel of Vietnam's rich history and culture. It is an unparalleled destination that combines natural beauty, architectural brilliance, and ancient wisdom. It is a place that transcends time and space, inviting visitors to explore and discover the wonders of Cham civilization and the essence of the Vietnamese soul. So, the next time you plan a trip to Vietnam, make sure you add My Son Sanctuary to your itinerary. Who knows, you might just discover something magical that will stay with you forever.