Thap Ba Ponagar
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Thap Ba Ponagar Nha Trang Reviews
Thap Ba Ponagar Nov 20, 2010
What struck me about the Thap Ba Po Nagar towers was their strong resemblance to temples and ruins of India and Cambodia. The Cham people, one of the ethnic minorities in Vietnam, are descendants of an ancient Hindu civilization that spread across the region around the 2nd Century. A tower complex was begun around that time but the four remaining towers were built during the 7th and 8th Centuries. Each demonstrates a slightly different style of classic Cham architecture, spanning different eras, and each a shrine to Hindu deities.
The main brick tower stands 24 meters, has a pyramid-shaped roof, and gives the sight its name - Thap Ba translates to tower of the mother. Ponagar (a wife of Xiva the Supreme) was credited with teaching people agriculture and considered to be the mother of the Champa Kingdom. All four shrines remain active by local Buddhists who come to burn incense and pray.
The Cham towers are located on a shaded hill that offers nice views of the mouth of the Cai River and its colorful fishing boats, of the Tran Phu and Xom Bong Bridges, and of the Nha Trang Bay and skyline. Refreshment stands have cold drinks, ice cream, and light snacks and there are spacious gardens to enjoy them in a fresh cooling breeze. Information signs are all in Vietnamese but the building marked 'Gallery' has photos and displays with descriptive captions in English.
In early afternoon, Cham drummers begin thumping nice rhythms then are joind by dancers in traditional dress to put on a free show. The Thap Ba Po Nagar towers are one of those 'must see' places in Nha Trang. They are easily seen and reached from either of the bridges crossing the Cai River. Admission is 11,000 VND (about U.S. 27 cents).
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