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Sand mining threatens ancient Cham tower

Update: July, 12/2011 - 09:16

At risk: The remnants of a Cham Yang Pong Tower dedicated to the god Shiva, built in the eighth century in Ea Sup District of the Central Highlands province of Dac Lac, is in danger of being swept away by an adjacent river. — File Photo

At risk: The remnants of a Cham Yang Pong Tower dedicated to the god Shiva, built in the eighth century in Ea Sup District of the Central Highlands province of Dac Lac, is in danger of being swept away by an adjacent river. — File Photo

DAC LAC — The remnants of a Cham temple tower dedicated to the god Shiva, built in the eighth century in Ea Sup District of the Central Highlands province of Dac Lac, is at risk of being swept away by an adjacent river.

Known locally as the Yang Pong Tower, the national heritage site is under threat from the Ea H'Leo River, the bed of which has widened from 30m to 50m due to the illegal exploitation of sand, eating away at its banks.

The river has managed to encroach up to 15m into the site area, currently flowing only 20m away from the foot of the tower that, according to local officials, will be swept away in the next two to three years if drastic measures are not taken.

Bui Duc Nguyet, chairman of the Ea Rok Commune People's Committee, said that while local authorities had managed to prevent sand exploiters from taking sand from the river bed on the section running through the commune itself, they could do little about other sections of the river that fell outside their jurisdiction.

Commune authorities had called on both the Ea Sup District and neighbouring Ia Loi Commune People's Committees for assistance, but with little result, he said, adding that at present, little could be done to safeguard the tower, covered in tree roots and cracking at its base.

The Yang Pong Tower is considered among the most typical and intact architectural examples of the Cham ethnic group in both central and Central Highland regions. Built in the Mukhalinga style, it is located in the valley of the Se Re Pok River and dedicated to the worship of fertility, peace and happiness.

The square tower of red brick stands 9m high, includes blue stone at its foundations, with the main gate facing the east while three false ones facing other directions.

Over the years, the tower has been a magnet to both domestic and foreign tourists and researchers. — VNS

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