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Mysterious Ponagar Tower In Nha Trang

Go to the coastal city of Nha Trang, you should visit the  Ponagar tower – one of the historical and cultural (already government ranking) very famous here.


From the city center to Ponagar tower about 2km to the North, the tower was built on a relatively flat ground, a spacious granite hill, over 10m above sea level, located on the banks of the Cai River, 2 – 4 Street, Vinh Phuoc ward, Nha Trang city.

The name “Po Nagar” is used to describe the whole structure, but actually it is the name of the tower is largest about 23 meters high. The temple was built during Hindu (Hinduism) are prosperous while Champa period called Hoan Kingdom, therefore shaped goddess Uma, the wife of Shiva.

Ponagar Tower - Nha Trang
Ponagar Tower – Nha Trang

Beautiful Architecture

Ponagar tower has unique architecture and almost intact through the timeline. The overall architecture of the Ponagar tower consists of 3 floors .

Lower floor: Horizontal ground by the gate tower, which now no longer exists. From there take the stone stairs leads to the middle floor, where currently only two main colonnade brick octagon, each side 5 column in diameter than 1 meter and more than 3 meters high. On either side of the large colonnade with 12 small columns and lower, all located on one floor brick higher than the 1-meter.

The top floor is where the tower was built, in front of the main tower. Ponagar tower is the typical work of art, architecture and sculpture of the Cham people. Engineering,  construction period from the eighth to the thirteenth century so far unknown, although many researchers, many scientific works have been performed. It is not understood how the Cham to make the bricks with the size 20x20cm kept snugly to each other without any adhesives yet. It is unique in that visitors add favorite part of this tower.

Ponagar Tower 1
Ponagar Tower 1

Technically, all of this tower was built in brick and decorative art in stone materials – ceramic, the content shown is associated with the gods are worshiped here. The stone sculptures representing different themes, religious Ba La Mon, like the statues round (currently on display at the Museum of Khanh Hoa province) associated with temple plaque beautiful art architecture.

The other tower worship: Siva (one of the three supreme deities of Hinduism), Sanhaka god, god Ganeca (according to legend was the son Siva). Beside the main tower about 20 meters south is a little different and little tower sculpture decoration, the height of 12 meters, the tower could be Shiva. The way this tower to the South is a tower even smaller. Inside the tower is no altar, only a linga (stone pillar), and this is the tower worship of Ganesa, human body, elephant head, the son of Shiva. Many authors suggest that linga is object penis symbolizing Shiva, according to the interpretation of Western inclined sexuality . In fact, linga is typically a low stone pillar with three different pieces to symbolize the three components: the lower part is square symbolizing Brahma, middle octagon represents Vishnu, and the top circle represents Rudra (also known as Shiva). So-called “spiritual stone pillar” is more appropriate.

Ponagar Tower 2
Ponagar Tower 2

Today, two other towers in the southwest was destroyed.  This distribution makes one interesting comparison with the brick tower in Lolei, near Angkor Wat in Cambodia, was built in the 8th century. Group of Cham towers was built and renovated over the period from the 7th century to the 12th century. Ponagar tower can built by the king Harivarman I built around the year 813-817. Over the change of time, the tower was damaged.  French colonial period, they held a remodeling: used bricks into pieces and covered some subjects up casing. During the war, many artifacts were stolen.

Ponagar Tower
Ponagar Tower

Ponagar Tower Festival

In those days annual rituals (from 20 to 23 March lunar calendar) Ponagar tower welcome thousands of pilgrims, traveler  as well as people in the area of the festival. As well as many other festivals of the Vietnamese people, in those days in the tower, alternating between major holidays are religious practices and folk beliefs, such as the prayer of the monks, is the unicorn dance performances, opera performances. Especially activities rituals that Cham ancient have left Ponagar tower.

Ponagar Tower festival
Ponagar Tower festival

One of the unique heritage of the festival in the tower was dancing shadow. At Ponagar tower have a dance team with actors from ethnic Cham, they joyfully serve tourists and also to dance at the request of guests without taking charge. The famous dance of the Cham people like Apsara, water berths love, neighbor … sound of Saranai, drum Ghi-Nang fun captivated the hearts of tourists. When the dancers and the orchestra, dance at the visitors was also  followed swaying dances, music.

This festival was the Ministry of Culture and Information of Viet Nam ranked as the 16th national festival in 2001. In recent years, Ponagar tower festival is assigned to the Khanh Hoa Department of Culture and Information.

By Le Thuc

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About the author

Hi, I'm Ho Lam! That's me, the boy who wants more experience each day. I'm slowly but surely working my way, travelling and sharing is my taste. The articles of this blog are not only from me, but also from my friends and the travellers mailed to me.

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