Champa relics badly in need of restoration
QUANG NAM — The central province of Quang Nam boasts a great number of Champa relics but many of them are in danger of being lost because of damage caused by the elements and the passage of time.
|Turning back time: Restoration work in progress at the G1 tower in My Son Cham Tower Complex in Quang Nam Province. Many other relics in the province are in danger of being lost because they are not being restored and protected from the elements. — VNS Photo Nguyen Thuong Hy.
The Dong Duong Buddhist College in Thang Binh District's Binh Dinh Bac Commune is one of the relics that has suffered serious damage.
The college, founded by King Indravarman II in 875, was an important spiritual site in Indrapura, the capital city of the Champa Kingdom, according to historians.
Recognised by the Culture Ministry as a National Heritage Site in 2001, the Dong Duong Buddhist College, located in a jungle, is now in ruins.
Visitors must make their way through paths covered with wild plants and creepers to reach the Sang Tower, one of the last vestiges of the Dong Duong Buddhist College.
The mossy tower which is five metres high is in danger of collapsing.
"Seven years ago, we used wood to enforce the tower, " said Truong Van Viet, chairman of Binh Dinh Bac Commune's People's Committee.
"The wood has rotted over the years. We don't know when the tower will topple, " Viet said.
According to Viet, a great number of relics in the college have been lost and thousands of old bricks were taken by local people to build their homes.
"We need funds and support from the province to preserve the heritage site, " Viet said.
The Chien Dan Cham Tower in Tam An Commune, Phu Ninh District, about 60km south of Da Nang City, is another heritage site that is in need of funds for preservation.
Chien Dan is a group of three towers built in the 11th or 12th century and dedicated to three deities of Hinduism, the dominant religion in the Champa Kingdom: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Sandstone bases featuring elaborately carved bas reliefs are in a decrepit state.
At the Chien Dan Tower, there is a showroom displaying Cham artifacts, including many ancient statues, that fascinate visitors and researchers alike.
Most visitors to the tower are surprised at its quietness. The heritage site receives few visitors each day because it is not a destination in most tours offered by local travel agencies to central Viet Nam.
Many Champa temple tower ruins, located in many communes in the province, are badly in need of restoration work.
The Quang Nam People's Committee recently approved a project worth more than VND42 billion(US$2million) to urgently repair and upgrade 121 local heritage relics, many of which belong to the erstwhile Champa Kingdom. — VNS