Ponagar Tower Cultural Historical Site

The Po Nagar Towers are one of the many monuments of the Champa Kingdom, which ruled South Vietnam from 200 to 1720 AD and was the most powerful force in the region. The historic Ponagar Towers' architectural complex is the most remarkable manifestation of the Cham people's long-standing civilization. The tower in Vinh Phuoc district of Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa, on Cu Lao hill, facing the East Sea.

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These four Cham Towers, which were built between the 7th and 12th centuries, are still utilized for Buddhist worship by Cham, Vietnamese, and Chinese Buddhists. The complex originally had seven or eight towers, but only four remain, the most impressive of which is the 28-meter-high North Tower (Thap Chinh), which dates from AD 817 and features a tiered pyramidal roof, vaulted interior brickwork, and vestibule. A black granite goddess figure stands 2.6 meters tall inside the tower, sitting on a lotus-shaped stone base and leaning back on a big fig leaf-shaped stone plate. The statue is regarded as a Cham sculpture masterpiece. The remaining three towers are dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu ultimate God, and his two sons, Sanhaca and Ganeca.

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On the foundation of a 7th-century structure, the Central Tower (Thap Nam) was erected largely of recycled bricks in the 12th century. The pyramidal top lacks terracing or pilasters, while the inner altars were formerly coated in silver. It is less beautifully crafted and has less adornment than the other towers. Inside the main chamber is a linga.

The South Tower (Mieu Dong Nam), which was once dedicated to Sandhaka (Shiva), still houses a linga, while the Northwest Tower (Thap Tay Bac), which is elaborately adorned, was once dedicated to Ganesh. A less remarkable museum with a few pieces of Cham stonework is located at the complex's rear.

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The Ponagar Tower is both a historical and cultural relic as well as a characteristic Cham architectural and sculptural achievement. All of the towers were made of bricks and embellished with stones and ceramics. Researchers haven't been able to figure out how the Cham people put bricks together tighter without using cement or adhesive.

Every year, the locals celebrate the Thap Ba (Ponagar) Festival from March 20th to March 23rd, according to the lunar calendar, to honor Thien Y Thanh Mau Ana, the Goddess who reclaimed new lands, preserved the race, discovered rice, and taught the locals how to cultivate and make handicraft products.

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Many religious rites and cultural activities, such as ceremonies to pray for peace, happiness, and prosperity, as well as performances of dancing, singing, and acting out old stories, are held in front of the main tower throughout the festival. Besides, the management board of the Thap Ba Tower Complex invites Cham dancers and artisans to participate in several artistic events presented on Saturday and Sunday nights to entertain tourists in order to introduce and promote the Cham people's unique cultural qualities.

Tourists that visit the complex appear to be transported back to the origins of the once-thriving Cham civilisation.

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