A day’s scooter trip – Mỹ Sơn (Hoi An) and Miracle Mountain (Danang)

Posted: June 23, 2012 in 2012 Summer - South East Asia, Vietnam

I have previously been to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and had been told that Mỹ Sơn in Vietnam was a must see ancient site whilst travelling south en route to Da Lat.

It is roughly 42 miles from Hoi An to Mỹ Sơn so I decided to hire a scooter for  5 USD for the day and head of. The directions I had been given were relatively vague, but throwing caution to the wind a raced off down country lanes, cutting through rice fields, small villages and several rivers/fords on my 150cc Yamaha!

Luckily Mỹ Sơn is such a well known site, which is visited by thousands, the locals understood my dodgy pronunciation and waved me on my way, an hour later I arrived.

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Mỹ Sơn was constructed between the 4th 14th century AD by the Kings of Champa, the temples are dedicated to the worship of the Hindu god Shiva (The Destroyer/Transformer.) Mỹ Sơn was the site for highly religious ceremonies for kings of the ruling dynasties of Champa, as well as a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes. After the Viet took control central Vietnam early in the 15th century, the decline and eventual fall of Champa followed.

The Mỹ Sơn complex fell into disuse and was largely forgotten until rediscovered by a Frenchman M.C. Paris in 1898, when restoration started in earnest from 1937-1943.

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Thanks to the yanks in the Vietnam war much of the site was destroyed by carpet bombing, but several examples of buildings spanning the extensive construction period over the centuries remaim. These include,

A kalan: a brick sanctuary, typically in the form of a tower, used to house a deity.

A mandapa: an entry hallway contiguous with a sanctuary.

A kosagrha or “fire-house”: a construction, typically with a saddle-shaped roof, used to house the valuables belonging to the deity or to cook for the deity.

A gopura: a gate-tower leading into a walled temple complex

Today the site has undergone a second phase of reconstruction under World Heritage, while the grounds around are still being made safe from unexploded munitions from the war.

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