A religious center between the 4th and 13th centuries, the Cham site of My Son became known to the world when French archaeologists rediscovered it in the late 1890s. Traces of around 70 temples may still be found at My Son, though only about 20 are still in good condition. The monuments are divided into 11 groups, the most important of which are Groups B, C, and D. Group A was almost completely destroyed by US bombing during the Vietnam War. The most striking edifices are the famous Cham towers, which are divided into three parts: the base represents the earth, the center is the spiritual world, and the top is the realm between earth and heaven.
This kalan or sanctuary was dedicated to Shiva, depicted as a standing sculpture in human form. The image is displayed at the Museum of Cham Sculpture.
Ruins at B4
Built in the architectural style of structures at Dong Duong, another Cham city, the ruins here feature religious images carved on stone pilasters and elaborately embellished false doors.
Shiva Lingam in B1
A phallic symbol associated with Shiva, the lin gam is shown within or above the yoni, a symbol of the goddess. Water was poured over the lingam and flowed through a spout on the yoni to symbolize creation.
This 10th-century tower at B5 was used as a repository for temple treasures. It shows traces of the architectural marvel it was, with a boat-shaped roof, carved pilasters, and fine reliefs of Gajalakshmi, Goddess of Prosperity.
Deities on C1
The 8th-century celestial figures on C1 show distinct Javanese influence. The low wide belts worn by the figures are thought to be of Indian origin, and it is believed that the style came to Cham via Indonesia.
A low, raised causeway extends between the two long halls of Group D that were once used as meditation chambers, as well as to receive guests and prepare offerings for the main shrines at Groups B and C.
The exquisite statues at My Son have been artistically carved out of brick and sandstone.
Gallery at D2
The long hall of D2 has been transformed into a small museum showcasing sculptures saved from ruins of looted and bomb- damaged shrines. It is sheltered by the addition of a modern roof.