HANOI, VIETNAM, June 30, 2003: Another US$812,000 has been invested in preserving a cluster of five Champa temple towers at My Son, the Hindu holy land of the old Champa Kingdom, 70 km southwest of central Da Nang City. The project is being jointly carried out by the Vietnamese government, UNESCO and the Italian University of Milan. The towers feature the most impressive and ornate decorations of all in the My Son complex, each with hundreds of brick God masks attached to its base.
Located in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district of central coastal Quang Nam province, with more than 70 architectural structures built of stone and bricks between the 7th and 13th centuries, My Son was considered the kingdom's largest center of architecture. Through studies of stelas and chronicles of the kingdom, historians have found that My Son used to be the most important holy land of the Champa between the 4th and 15th century. They also discovered the structure of the complex that included the central temple devoted to Lord Siva was surrounded by temples in honor of gods and kings. The major temples in the complex were all dedicated to Lord Siva -- the guardian of Champa kings and Bhadesvara who was the first king of the Amaravati region in the late 4th century.
Each temple group is characterized by a gate tower, a main tower symbolizing the heaven, a long tower, shaped like a house, providing lodging for pilgrims, a storage tower for objects of worship and smaller towers in honor of the Gods of direction and the stars. The towers are symmetrical and in the shape of a mountain, symbolic of Meru Mount, kingdom of God Siva. They also feature elaborate engravings of many Gods. Inscription on the oldest stela, dating back to the fourth century, reads that King Bhadresvara built the first temple in honor of God Siva-Bhadresvara. Two centuries later, the wooden temple was burned down. In the early 7th century, King Sambhuvarman rebuilt the temple with more durable materials and the remnants remain until today. The following dynasties restored the temple and added new ones.