Po Nagar Tower Complex located on Cu Lao Hill, by Cai River, belongs to Vinh Phuoc Ward, Nha Trang City, about 2km to the north of the city center. This is a typical architectural and sculptural work of Cham culture.
The complex was built in the 8th century – the prosperous period of Hinduism in the ancient Kingdom of Cham Pa (Khauthara region), now Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen provinces.
Originally, the tower was made of wood in order to worship Thien Y Thanh Mau (Goddess Po Nagar) who Cham people consider as the goddess created the Earth, trees, and rice. Then, King Prithi Indravarman had the tower rebuilt to worship Goddess Bhagavati. In 774, King Satysuaman also had the tower rebuilt by stone and brick but it was destroyed later. The current tower complex was built in 965 by King Jaya Indravarman I to worship the gods of Po Nagar, Siva (one of three supreme gods of Hinduism), Sanhaka and Ganeca (sons of God Siva).
The Po Nagar Tower Complex consists of three levels. The lowest level is the gate tower totally destroyed. From here, there are stone steps leading up to themiddle level called Mandapa (meditation hall) where pilgrims can rest and prepare offerings. Mandapa is 20m long and 15m wide, includes two rows of 10 large pillars and 12 small pillars.
On the third level, there are two parallel tower ranges, each range had 3 towers but now only 4 ones remain. In this architectural complex, the main tower to worship Goddess Po Nagar is the largest one with its height of 23m, terraced pyramidal roof. Inside the tower, there is a 2.6m-high statue of the goddess made of black granite sitting on a lotus-shaped stone base, backing on a large Bodhi leaf-shaped stone plate. The statue is considered as a masterpiece of Cham sculpture. The other three towers are dedicated to God of Siva and his two sons, Gods of Sanhaca and Ganeca.
The Po Nagar tower complex preserves many ancient inscriptions of Cham people about sacrifices and worship to Goddess Po Nagar, the praise for the goddess, and the construction of the tower complex…
Every year, from the 21st to the 23rd days of the third lunar month, Po Nagar Festival is organized with large scale, including activities as washing and changing clothes for the statue, dang ba dance, ghe racing, boi singing… This is the biggest religious festival in the region to commemorate Goddess Po Nagar.
In 1979, Po Nagar Tower Complex was recognized as a national historical site by Ministry of Culture and Information (now Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism).
From 2000 to 2003, the complex was restored and embellished. With its uniquearchitecture, the complex has become an attractive destination for tourists whenvisiting Nha Trang.
How to get Nha Trang City:
– By air:
+ Direct flight: Ha Noi/ Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang by Vietnam Airlines
+ Direct flight: Ha Noi– Nha Trang by Jetstar
+ Direct flight: Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang by Vietjet Air
– By sea: Nha Trang International Port (Nha Trang Bay, Vinh Nguyen Ward, NhaTrang City) can receive international cruises.
– By railway: The trains of SE1, 3, 5, 7 and TN1 from Ha Noi; SE 2,4,6,8 and TN2 from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang Station (17 Thai Nguyen, Nha Trang City).
– By road: Nha Trang City is 488km to the northeast of HCM City and 1,278km to to the south of Ha Noi. From HCM City or Ha Noi, along to 1A National Highway, tourists will arrive to Nha Trang City.
Travel companies provide tours to Po Nagar Tower Complex:
Dat Dat Tour Company
Address: 28 Yersin Street, Nha Trang City
Telephone: + (84-58) 3811 379
Khanh Hoa Tourism Limited Company
Address: 1 Tran Hung Dao Street, Nha Trang City
Telephone: + (84-58) 3525 693/3525 226
Tourist services in Po Nagar Tower Complex:
– Ticket price: VND 15,000/person/turn
– Free of charge for the following cases:
1. Children under 16 years of age;
2. The international delegations, the delegations of Government, ministries,central agencies, provinces and cities visit the tower during working time inKhanh Hoa Province;
3. Officials, soldiers and people working and living in Spratly Island District;
4. The pupil delegations in Khanh Hoa Province visit to learn about the tower;
5. The people usually go to Po Nagar Tower to worship according to religious belief;
6. On the occasions of Po Nagar Festival (from the 21st to the 23rd days of the third lunar month) and Lunar New Year Festival (from the 30th day of the twelfth lunar month to the 2nd day of the first lunar month).
– The drama dance program “Po Nagar Legend” is held in every Thursday and Saturday evenings, lasting for 30 minutes and including 3 chapters: “Primitive age”, “Po Nagar – the goddess of people and return to Kauthara”; “Samba dance by the ancient tower”. The program is performed by artists of Hai Dang Dance and Music Troupe and has just put into operation to serve tourists since New Year Festival 2013 to promote unique culture values of Cham people in KhanhHoa Province.
– The souvenir stalls.