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Champa Ruins and Hoi An by Night


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large_938978_1428677432675.jpgToday we had one more day in Hoi An, and we decided to pay a visit to the Champa Ruins of My Son (pronounced Me Sun), another UNESCO World Heritage Site and to be honest one of the more rememorable experiences of this trip.

Before arriving at My Son, which was an hour by car from our hotel, you have to walk up a path that goes through the jungle for about 5-10 minutes. It is nice walking there, shade, nature, the river flowing between the rocks, it's peaceful. We arrived after it had rained (for a change we kept it dry the entire day and saw sunshine!). Bcause of that we saw a lot of butterflies. Beautiful! Hard to get a good picture, but beautiful to see how so many butterfles were in one place.

The buildings and temples of My Son Sanctuary are Hindu, dedicated to Shiva, not Buddhist like most other temples in Vietnam.large_938978_14286774473187.jpg3 windows, 9 barsThey were build between the 4th and 12th century AD bij kings of the Cham people, which are now a minority in Vietnam, and live mostly around the Mekong Delta.The My Son temple complex is regarded one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia and is the foremost heritage site of this nature in Vietnam. It is compared to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, even though that is build by the Khmer, and Ayutthaya in Thailand. It has much of the same building style, but it also is different beacause My Son is older then the two previously named sites.

Originally, the site had around 70 temples. The french started with the restoration of the old buildings , however due to an American bomb carpet during the Vietnam war, the numbers decreased to about 20 temples that are still (semi) standing, the rest is completely destroyed.large_938978_14286776677218.jpg They are now trying to rebuild and searching around what is still left, but even that is impossible at some places because there are too many unexploded bombs lying around.

Lucky for us we were early (around 9am) a bit before the big tourist busses came around. We had a really nice guide that could tell us much about My Son and the histroy behind it. We visited the temples in group C, D, E and F. The temples are old, and most of it is still original. Some parts are reconstructed. They copied the bricks nearly perfect, but you could see the difference between the building styles. In the original style the bricks are lying on top of each other without space between them, in the restorated parts you could see the joints and mortar that keeps it all together.large_938978_14286774417251.jpg

The Cham people used to heat the building when they were done building it. As the guide told us, they set it on fire. It is aslo believed that because of this fire, besides the sticking together of the bricks, it is also the cause you see no moss at all on the old original stones, and the reason they're so well preserved. The new ones do have moss growing on it. Interesting that people who lived so long ago were so incredibly smart when it came to building these huge temples, and that scientists in this age don't have a clue how they did it exactly.

Besides temples (dedicated to Shiva) there were also styles of limestone, where you could still see the text that was once written upon it. It is old Sanskriet and apperantly there are not many people, or none anymore, who can read/decipher it.large_938978_14286774767459.jpg Unfortunately.

The temples and some buildings have the symbolic number 9, for luck, subtely built in it for example 3 windows with 3 bars each, making it 9 bars total. There are statues without heads, but the archeologists still don't know why that happened. Some say it is because the Cham people did it themselves, as in you will not take our knowledge without our consent, others say it is because a more barbaric people came aorund and destroyed everything, but they never found any evidence of that. And some say it were the French that destroyed the statues. Plenty of possibilities ;)

In the end we saw a Cham dance performance. really nice to see, and the way they gracefully moved their hands was amazing, like they bend their fingers a bit more then normal.large_938978_14286777064184.jpg After that there was a klarinet player with a really good longcapacitiy. It was nice to hear at first but in the end he made one really loud very long melody and i was glad when he stopped making that sound. But if you decide to go there (and if you're there you really really should!!) see the dances as well. :-)

After about the entire morning spend there we rode back to Hoi An. We decided to see a few temples after lunch, and so we did. Beautiful temples! Open for public from 6am to 6pm. We saw two but the have quite a few of them. We also went to see the local market. Open from 6am-6pm, so we couldn't see it yesterday. We bought a cinnamon box, you could only get that around Hoi An. After that it was back to the hotel to freshen up and rest a bit. It was quite hot that day. We went out a couple of hours later for dinner. And to just walk around again. I loved that town at night with all the busy streets and the lanterns and the shops and stalls and everything.

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Vietnam

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