Mỹ Sơn: A holy land of Hinduism

MySonSanctuaryMỹ Sơn is an ancient monumental treasure in Việt Nam.

However, some statues and exhibits were stolen or had collapsed during the war or over time.

Arriving at Mỹ Sơn, tourists may lose themselves in the vast green forest, fresh air and tranquility.

After going up and down the slopes, travelers will see an ancient tower hidden behind the gravel path and bushy trees.

Mỹ Sơn is a cluster of Hindu temples and is surrounded by mountain ranges.

In the past, Mỹ Sơn was a burial place for Chăm royalty and a site of religious ceremonies for the kings of the ruling Champa dynasties.

Mỹ Sơn is regarded as one of the oldest Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia and is a unique place in Việt Nam.

Observing the Mỹ Sơn temples, with their sandstone exhibits and statues, tourists will see spiritual culture more often identified with India.

Scientists said that the first temple was built in Mỹ Sơn in the sixth century.

Unfortunately, a major fire reduced it to ashes.

Some other temples were built to make Mỹ Sơn an original architectural complex.

These temples are different from each other, and each has its own mysterious exterior.

Apart from the temple architecture, Hindu culture is also reflected through the relics found in Mỹ Sơn.

They were made in the era of King Bhadravarman I, who ruled from 380 until 413 AD.

A temple was built to worship Shiva in the form of lingam, which is interpreted as the God of Rebirth.

Until now, this religious culture has existed in old written records in Sanskrit.

Lingam, yoni, Nadin and Apsara statues have been kept in the temples.

Tourists will be amazed when seeing the red bricks used to build the temples.

No one fully understands how the bricks were made, or what construction techniques were used by the Chăm builders to set up these temples without any adhesives.

No matter how the temples were built, every cluster in Mỹ Sơn consists of the main temple of Kalan, which is surrounded by temples featuring lingam, yoni and Shiva statues.

Researchers said that in front of the complex is the entrance gate-tower called Gopura, and the next is Mandapa, a vestibule for public rituals.

Next to the vestibule is an architectural work facing the north, often called the direction of Kubera, the God of Wealth.

It has one or two halls containing offerings to worship the gods.

The main entrance gates of all temples face the east to receive the sunlight completely.

Every temple is shaped like a pyramid, which is the symbol of Lord Meru and where Hindu gods reside.

However, tourists will find some traces of Buddhism in the land of Hinduism.

In the 10th century, Buddhism became the main religion of the Chăm people.

Sweating profusely after a tour around temples in Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary, tourists can enjoy a folk music program performed by Chăm girls in traditional dress.

By PHÙ SA LỘC

Source: The Saigon Times

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