Commonly known as ” Thap Ba”( Lady Tower), Po Nagar Cham Tower in Nha Trang is situated about 2km from Nha Trang City Center, is nowadays still an actively site for worship by Cham, Vietnamese Buddishts and Chinese. This impressive Tower lie on a lush hill with stunning views overlooking Cia River estuary and colorful fishing boat. Po Nagar Cham Tower is a featured artwork of Cham Architectural Art and Sculpture that are still a mystery to many researchers. Besides beaches, Po Nagar Cham Tower is one of must things to do in Nha Trang.
History of Po Nagar Cham Towers
Historically, Cham was an ancient civilization that influences reach all over Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam and Cambodia. They are famous for their skills in sculpture and architecture and left behind a unmistakable legacy of artifacts and temple settlements not only in Vietnam, but also Cambodia and Thailand. Thus, visitors will find a great deal of similarity between Po Nagar Towers in Nha Trang and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, but in a smaller scale.
Originally the complex had seven or eight towers, but only four remain, of which the 28m-high North Tower (Thap Chinh; AD 817), with a terraced pyramidal roof, vaulted interior masonry and vestibule, is the most magnificent.
The towers stand on a granite knoll 3km north of central Nha Trang, on the northern bank of the Cai River.
Po Nagar Towers is a typical artwork of Cham Architectural Art and Sculpture. Construction techniques from the VIII to XIII centuries are still a mystery to many researchers. People still do not understand how Cham people had made the 20x20cm bricks stick together on top of each other without any binder. This is the unique feature that makes it more intrigued by visitors.
Technically, all of these towers were made of bricks and decorated with stone – ceramic art, the content is also associated with the gods are worshiped here. Stone sculptures depict various themes of Brahmanical religion, such as round statues (now displayed at the Khanh Hoa Province Museum) attached to the temple towers forming fine art architecture.
Unlike the case of My Son Holly Land, Po Nagar Towers are well-reserved with most of the original designs are still intact. Each towers was built to dedicate to a unique deity. The largest, which is 23m high, is dedicated to Ponagar, who is said to have taught new agricultural and weaving techniques to people of the area. In gratitude, they built the tower to honor her. The central tower is in honor of Cri Cambhu who blesses devotees with fertility, which is where childless couples often visit and pray. The North West tower is in honor of Sanhaka, a wood cutter and foster father to Ponagar. The tower in the south was dedicated to Ganeca, the daughter of Ponagar.
Travel Tips Visiting Po Nagar Cham Towers
The annual festival at Po Nagar Cham Towers is held from 21st to 23rd Mar of Lunar Calendar (approximately the end of Apr and beginning of May), when a lot of Cham people’s traditional activities are operated and people from all parts of the country will gather here.
The complex’s location allows overlooking views to fishing boats on Nha Trang’s Cai River for photograph opportunities.
How to get there
The entrance fee is as low as $1 and the site opens from 7am to 7pm. Access to the site is easily done by both car and motorbike.
The annual Thap Ba Festival is held from 21st to 23rd Mar of Lunar Calendar (approximately the end of Apr and beginning of May), when a lot of Cham people’s traditional activities are taken place and people from all parts of the country will gather to honour their Goddess.
If you’re a hard core history buff and you might want a guide to deeper understanding of Po Nagar Cham Tower history, Cham religion & architecture, then don’t might to contact with us via asianwaytravel.com to book a private tours and guide.