Po Nagar Cham Towers – Relic of one of the great empires

Situated in Cu Lao Hill, overlooking the South China Sea, Po Nagar Cham Towers is a typical tower-temple of Cham ethnic minority, which was built from VIII to XIII century. It is considered as the most wonderful scenic spot in Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa.

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History and location

Po Nagar Cham Towers was built between 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people who once ruled the central plain of Vietnam. It is located on top of a small hill about 50 meters higher than sea level, near Cai River’s estuary. It today belongs to Vinh Phuoc ward, far approximately 2 km from Nha Trang city center. The name “Po Nagar Cham Tower” is generally used to refer to the whole architectural works, yet in fact it is the name of the largest tower, about 23 meters high. Po Nagar Cham Towers owns a unique architecture and almost intactness over times.

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.

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What to see

Compared to the original design, the towers nowadays have only a few differences (except for the Golden Dome which has been robbed by pirates). The four Po Nagar Towers today are truly beautiful and charming. Each of them was built to dedicate to a unique deity.

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The largest tower, which is 23m high, was built in 817 AD and contains a linga and a statue dedicated to Ponagar, who is said to have taught new agricultural and weaving techniques to people of the area. In gratitude they have built the complex to honour the Goddess. The central tower is in honour of Cri Cambhu who blesses devotees with fertility, ence childless couples often visit and pray there. The North West tower is in honour of Sanhaka, a wood cutter and foster father to Ponagar. The tower in the south was dedicated to Ganeca, the daughter of Ponagar.

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If you are interesting in history, you can be amazed to find hundreds of ancient relics displayed inside the complex. If you love taking travel photographs, the promontory on which the towers stand has a fantastic view of Cai River and the village on the riverside. If you want to discovery the hidden charm of the Cham people’s culture, you can watch as many traditional dance shows as you want.

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Thanks to valuable remaining, from architecture to sculpture, inscriptions to legend, Po Nagar Cham Tower Nha Trang is worth a cultural-historical-artistic relics and an important scenic spot in Nha Trang tourism.

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