Ponagar (Thap Ba) Cham Tower In Nha Trang Tours
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In the coastal city of Nha Trang, tourists cannot miss the Ponagar Tower – one of the most famous historical and cultural monuments here. Not only is it famous for beautiful sightseeing but also for its monumental architecture built by the ancient people, attracting pilgrims from the four points of the compass in search of natural wonders.
A legend land
Queen Ponagar – also referred to as Pu Nagar or Po Ino Nagar – is the goddess created by clouds and sea foams, the creator of the earth, breeding of precious wood, trees, and rice. The name “Ponagar Tower” is used to refer to the whole structure, but it is actually the name of the largest tower, about 23 meters high.
Legend has it that queen Ponagar status, according to the traditional belief of Cham people, has no clothes. But nowadays, Ponagar towers used by the Vietnamese with the goddess dressed in Buddhist style.
The monument of Ponagar Tower, built around the 8th century, is one of the architectural complexes of Cham culture that has the largest scale in the rest of Central Vietnam. In the 13th century, the Hindu period (Hinduism) was flourishing in the ancient Kingdom of Champa.
Ponagar Tower has unique architecture and is almost untouched by time.
About 2 km from the city center, the tower is built on a fairly flat, spacious land of a marble hill, 10m above sea level, on the banks of the Cai River, Nha Trang. The architecture of the Ponagar Tower consists of 3 floors.
The architecture of the tower
Lower level: There used to be the gate tower evening to the flat ground but it was devastated. Therefore, the stone stairs lead up to the middle floor.
Middle floor: There are only two main octagonal pillars left, each with 5 meters in diameter and over 3 meters in height. On the two sides of the large columns are 12 small and lower columns, placed on a brick floor higher than 1 meter. Based on the structure, it is said to be a large building with a tiled roof, where pilgrims visit before making offers to the temple. From this middle floor, there is a steep staircase leading up to the top floor.
Top floor: The place where towers were built in the Cham style with no adhesive. The outer surface of the tower has many edges and cylinders. On the body of the tower, there are many statues and reliefs of terracotta, including Ponagar, fairies, animals like deer, lion … These steps have not been used for a long time. The one made of laterite which tourists see today in the South was built in the 1960s due to the increased demand of Nha Trang, Vietnam tour package.
Reliefs of terracotta
In this architectural complex, many of the oldest inscriptions of the Cham are still preserved, recording the worship of the field and the slave labor of the goddess, the praises as well as listing valuable tributes.
Ponagar Tower is a typical work of Cham architectural and sculptural art. Construction techniques from the 8th to 13th centuries are still a mystery. Although many scientific works have been done, people still do not understand how Cham people have made the bricks stick on top of each other without any binder. It is this unique feature that makes visitors more interested in this tower temples.
Thap Ba Temple is classified by the Ministry of Culture as a national historical monument in 1979. With its unique and original architecture, the Temple of Ponagar is a pilgrimage site for the followers of religious ceremonies and tourists of Nha Trang tour for family.
On the annual pilgrimage from March 20 to March 23 (lunar calendar), Ponagar Tower welcomes thousands of visitors to the area. Thap Ba festival is ranked as one of 16 national festivals with many interesting and diverse activities to introduce and honor the beauty of Cham culture.
Cham dance in Thap Ba festival
One of the most unique legacies of the festival is the shadow theatre. At Ponagar tower, there is a dancing team with Cham artisans, they are happy to serve tourists and also willing to dance at the request of visitors without charges.
Visiting Thap Ba towers in Nha Trang tours, besides learning about history and ancient architecture, visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy Cham dances by the Cham national dance performances. Champa dancers indulge visitors, giving you a beautiful impression when coming to this revered place.