Located on the top of a small hill at the mouth of Cai river in Nha Trang, Po Nagar Cham towers in Vietnam, whose full name is Yang Po Inu Nagar is one of the most beautiful Cham temples with the biggest scale that is still preserved in Vietnam until now.
General introduction about Po Nagar Cham towers in Vietnam
According to the researchers, the Cham towers were built and renovated over many periods of time, from the 7th century to the 12th century when Hindu became thriving in the Panduranga period of Champa.
The name “Po Nagar towers” is used to refer to the whole structure, but in fact, it is the name of the largest tower with the height of about 23 meters.
Architecture of Po Nagar Cham towers in Vietnam
The overall architecture of Po Nagar Cham towers consists of three floors. The first floor that lies on the ground was the gate tower but now, it is no longer located here. From this floor, there are stone steps leading to the second floors.
The second floor only remains two main colonnades made of octagonal brick; each side has five columns with the diameter of more than one meter and the height of three meters. On both sides are large colonnades having 12 smaller and lower columns. All of them are located on a brick platform that is higher than one meter.
With this structure, it is thought that this was a large building with tile roof where pilgrims took a rest and prepared offerings before entering the sanctuary. From this floor, there is a range of sloping brick stairs leading to the top floor.
The top floor is where the rows of towers were surrounded by stone walls that now remains only the western and southern walls. The front range of towers has three towers and the back row previously contains other three towers, but now it consists of only one.
The main tower of the front range has the largest scale. This tower is named Po Nagar or Thap Ba and about 23 meters high. At first, the tower is for the worship of Parvati, the wife of Shiva.
Po Nagar is the building of four floors, each of which has doors, statues of God and animal-shaped rocks and four small towers in the four corners.
Inside the tower is a statue of goddess carved in black granite that is placed on a lotus-shaped pedestal and her back leans on a large stone slab in the shape of Bodhi leaf. This is seen as a masterpiece of Cham sculpture with the harmonious combination of free-standing and bas-relief sculpture. In the French colonial period, the head of statue was taken away and it is now restored.
The passing of time makes Po Nagar Cham towers severely damaged and has been upgraded many times. Nowadays, Po Nagar tower is where a host of special cultural activities and festivals of the Cham take place. Of these festivals, the most important one is Thap Ba festival that is held from 21 to 23 of March of Lunar calendar every year. Po Nagar Cham towers is really one of the must-see destinations in Vietnam.