Po Nagar Cham temple complex was built between 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people who once ruled the central plain of Vietnam. The Cham people, who were Hindu in origin, had their own Sanskrit-based script. They are renowned for their skills in sculpture and architecture and left behind a legacy of artifacts and temple settlements not only in Vietnam, but also Cambodia and Thailand.
In the 14th century, the Kingdom of Champa fell into the hand of the invading Viet, whose descendants are today the Vietnamese people. A small minority of Cham people, now an ethnic minority, still live in the central plain somewhere near Danang. Although most Cham people have converted to Islam, they still worship their gods at Po Nagar Cham Towers during annual religious festival of Thap Ba, which falls around the end of April and the beginning of May.
Po Nagar Cham Towers were built to honour the goddess Po Nagar- literally translated as ‘The mother of the Country’ -who is said to have taught agricultural and weaving skills to the Cham people. Later, historians have come to identify Po Nagar with the Hindu goddesses Bhagavati, the wife of Shiva, and Durga, the buffalo-demon slayer.
The towers of Po Nagar Cham are square red brick structure with protruding support frames and tapering roofs. There were once ten buildings, each dedicated to a different deity, but now only four remain. The tallest building, at 25 metres, the Po Nagar Kalan, is the most impressive. Here, Po Nagar was worshipped and, according to historical stone inscriptions, animal sacrifices were made in her honour.
To the centre of the complex, stands a tower of Cri Cambhu, goddess of fertility. The other two temples are the shrines of the Hindu gods Shiva and Ganesh respectively. Po Nagar Cham Towers are situated on the high ground of Mount Cu Lau on the bank of River Cai, a few kilometres north from the city centre.
Opening Hours: 07:30 – 17:00 daily
Location: 2 Thang 4, end of Som Bong Bridge, Nha Trang