My Son Sanctuary – Symbol of Champa Culture

The ancient Champa culture is well represented by the My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southern Vietnam. Between the second and the seventeenth centuries, when it was overrun by Vietnam, it was an autonomous state.




My Son Sanctuary is situated in a hilly area in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, some 70 km southwest of downtown Da Nang city and 40 kilometers from Hoi An City. It was once the governmental and religious center of the Champa Kingdom.

The spectacular Hindu-themed remains are surrounded by a tropical jungle and include numerous exquisite stone sculptures, temples, and towers. My son's original structure was built in the fourth century during the reign of Bhadravarman to honor the god Shiva-Bhadresvara. But the temple was later destroyed. It was restored and renamed Sambhu-Bhadresvara by King Sambhuvarman at the start of the seventh century.




My Son was the sole location where Cham art existed uninterruptedly from the 7th to the 13th century, since every new king traveled there after ascending to the throne for the ceremony of purification, to offer offerings, and to create new monuments.

The city of My Son served as both a political hub and a royal cemetery. The complex contains more than 70 buildings dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses, the most notable of whom, Shiva, was revered as the guardian of the Champa kings. Their deft use of sandstone and red bricks is impressive.




My Son was ruined by time and war, like many other historic sites around the world, and after being abandoned for a very long time, it was found and repaired by the French in 1898. Sadly, the most recent battle caused significant damage to the complex because Americans bombed it knowing that the Vietnam Cong utilized it as a cover, believing falsely that the enemy would not target a sacred location.

The center structure, however, was mostly spared by the bombs, and some of the remains have since been reconstructed. In general, this Hindu temple reminds visitors of other comparable Southeast Asian locations, such as the enormous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. A place that history lovers must visit.




UNESCO designated the sanctuary as a monument of global cultural heritage in 1999. It consists of eight groups totaling 71 monuments constructed between the years 7 and 13. My Son temples were constructed to honor Hindu deities like Krishna and Vishnu, but most importantly Shiva, and they owe their spiritual roots to the Hinduism of the Indian subcontinent.

The preservation of the My Son monuments reportedly started in the early 20th century CE, not long after they were found by French archaeologists in modern times. A number of tower temples were severely damaged during the Wars of the Roses. The remaining tower temples, however, have undergone preservation work and have been well-maintained.

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