Champa is an ancient country that existed independently during the period from 192 to 1832. The area of Champa before stretches from the Quang Binh in the north to Binh Thuan in the south and from the East Sea to the western mountains of Laos today. Through time, because of the war and the destruction of nature, Champa has few vestiges left. Among the vestiges remaining, Cham towers are the best outstanding. Ponagar tower in Nha Trang is the best well-known tower in Central Vietnam. Most tourists to Nha Trang spend their time admiring this ancient work.
Ponagar Tower is located on the top of a small hill about 10 – 12 meters above sea level, at the mouth of Cai River (Nha Trang River) in Nha Trang, about 2 km north of the city center, now belongs to Vinh Phuoc ward. The name “Ponagar Tower” is used to refer to the entire group of towers here. The tower dates about between the eighth century and the thirteen one. There 2 legends about Lady Ponagar. One belongs to Cham people and one belongs to Kinh people.
Cham legend tells that Ponagar is a goddess created by the cloud and the sponge, the creator of the Earth, producing precious wood, trees, and rice. She has 97 husbands, in which Poyanamo is the most respected person. She has 38 daughters, of whom the three are chosen by the Cham people as gods to protect the land, and worshiped even today.
The Kinh legend says that Thien Y A Na, a goddess, appears in Dai An mountain in Khanh Hoa Province. The goddess has foster parents in the area and has a Chinese husband called Bac Hai Crown Prince and two children called Prince Tri and Princess Qui. She has the merit teaching people to behave well each other and how to earn for living. Thien Y A Na and her family are worshiped in Ponagar Tower.
Currently, the tower remains 5 architectural works. The first work that visitors see is a foundation with a height of 1m, a length of 20 m and a width of 15 m. There are 4 rows of parallel columns. Today on the 1st, 15th and feast days for Lady in March, this place takes place solemn ceremonies. Especially, the dance wearing tray on the head offers offerings to Lady.
Ponagar tower in Nha Trang was built according to the architectural style influenced by the Brahmin religion. The tower is built of bricks that are arranged very skillfully. Inside the Main Tower is the statue of Lady Ponagar in the gorgeous dress and crown, sitting on a lotus base. Behind it is bodhi leaf statue. To the left is Prince Tri altar and to the right is Princess Quy altar.
South Tower is between Main Tower and Southeast Tower. The Tower is 18m high and consists of 2 floors. The roof of the tower bends gradually to the top. At the peak has a Linga and Yoni statue. Two sides of the tower are 2 stone pillars with lotus shape. Inside is Crown Prince Bac Hai statue and Linga and Yoni set. Linga is decorated with stylized lotus petals.
The West Tower is behind the Main Tower. It is 9.1 m high. Its body is square with the side of 3.8m. Its roof is 3.73 m high, gradually small below. The tower worships Lingar and Yoni set, Prince Tri and Princess Quy.
The smallest tower in this vestige area is the Southeast Tower. The tower was built simply. It is 5.7 m high. Its body has rectangular. This is the place to worship Mr. and Mrs. woodcutter. All 4 towers turned east. Cham People thinks that Gods are in that direction.
Contributing to the architectural artistic value of this vestige area is reliefs and statues. The relief of the front of the Main Tower is a masterpiece. The statue describes Goddess Durga trample on the buffalo head demon. Two sides are 2 gods playing music. Ponagar Tower remains steles carving events relating to the tower.
Ponagar tower in Nha Trang is an ancient Cham Temple. The tower has a unique architectural style, a special worshiping way, and has an attractive legend going along. The tower is typical for Cham towers in Central Vietnam. Coming to Nha Trang, most tourists spend the time visiting this ancient tower.
Address: 2 km from Nha Trang City center to the north.
Ticket price: 22,000 VND
Opening time: 8:00 – 18:00
Phone number: 0899 789 815
Lady Ponagar Festival: March 20 – 23 of the lunar calendar.
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