Po Nagar Tower is on the list of outstanding attractions in Nha Trang because of its high value in history, culture, and art.
This tourist destination includes unique brick towers built from the 8th – 13th centuries, worshiping the goddess Thien Y as the Vietnamese call it, also known as Po Nagar in Champa culture.
Thap Ba, the short name in Vietnamese of Po Nagar Towers, is located right on the main road of the national highway, next to the Cai river, so you can easily move to this place. If you travel from Nha Trang city center, you only need to go about 4km from the Stone Church to the North.
- Location: 61 Hai Thang Tu Street, Vinh Phuoc Ward, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam
- Ticket price: 22,000VND
- Opening time: 7:00 am – 5:30 pm
- Estimated time to visit the site: 45 minutes
What do Po Nagar towers look like?
Po Nagar is a group of 6 towers built on a hill. However, over time, the two rear towers collapsed, leaving only the foundation. Now, you see the remaining 4 towers here, including the largest main tower in the middle and surrounding sub-buildings.
In particular, in front of the tower on the low floor, at the foot of the hill is a cluster of columns made of burnt bricks very impressive, feeling like the ancient columns of ancient Rome.
Many researchers of the ancient Cham culture believe that the remaining columns are a covered building, a place to prepare gifts and to gather pilgrims to start giving offerings to the Goddess Po Nagar.
Absolutely, you will not be able to miss taking pictures of the strong and magnificent columns of this place.
The way up to the tower
Behind the huge columns, there are steep steps to go up to the brick towers. This is not the path for you if you are a tourist because this way used to be for pilgrims. At the same time, the path is difficult because of the verticality, so it is dangerous.
Some people believe that creating a difficult path also aims to teach human beings to try to overcome hardships and obstacles to rise to new heights and reach the sacred destination where to meet the Goddess.
As visiting, you should follow the easier path and stairs to the left of these columns to go up the main temple group more easily.
What is inside the main tower?
Inside the main tower of Thap Ba group worships the goddess Thien Y, also known as Po Nagar. Her statue is placed in the center of this temple, the largest one in this area. The Goddess specializes in helping people take care of the land, cultivate crops, and be close to people’s daily lives.
In the past, her statue was made of black stone, but over time with many changes, the statue was made of cement. Previously, the statue of her did not wear clothes, but today people have dressed up for Thien Y Goddess. It shows the influence of the contemporary culture of Vietnamese and Cham people existing and influencing each other.
Thien Y Thanh Mau or Po Nagar is ranked as the supreme position of the gods because she reincarnated into the land, water, trees, and food. Therefore, in Cham culture, the Cham Pa people see her as the beginning of life. Although it is just a legend, it has also contributed to the unique culture of the Cham people that exists nowadays.
Worshiping Thien Y is for the purpose of praying for long life, bringing luck and abundance to life. With that good meaning, many locals still come to this place to pray every day.
In particular, the big ceremony to worship the goddess takes place in this area on the 21st – 23rd lunar days every year. That’s when people show their respect and gratitude to Thien Y Thanh Mau for supporting and keeping life peaceful.
Tongue stone in this destination
Visiting this area, you will come across a not-too-big stone lying on one side of the main building. The stone is shaped like a tongue, so people call it Tongue Stone.
According to the comments of many locals, this stone grows a little bit by itself each year, so it is also called a living stone.
Around the rock area is built a low fence to cover it; at the same time, an altar was built to worship the stone, and it’s taken care of burning the incense and cleaning the altar daily.
The concept of locals considers the tongue stone sacred. But that’s just belief, when you believe it’s true, that’s true. But anyway, having come to this outstanding attraction of Nha Trang, you should also remember to turn around to see the truth of this tongue stone.
The value of this tower group
- Spiritual value: This temple area is a place to worship and pray for the people, not only of the Cham but for everyone. Create faith in the good things in life.
- Artistic and architectural value: Preserving beautiful terracotta decorative lines, keeping Champa culture from the 8th to 13th centuries to the present. Highlights in using terracotta materials to build towers that last for thousands of years in rain and sun.
- Tourism value: Create a famous tourist attraction to Nha Trang.
Compare with other towers
If comparing Ba Nagar tower (Nha Trang) with My Son Temples in Quang Nam Province, Vietnamdrive finds some highlights as follows:
- Po Nagar tower was built on a high hill, in contrast to the My Son temples- mostly built in the valley.
- The buildings in My Son Sanctuary are spread over a larger area than Thap Ba, but Po Nagar is more majestic.
- Compared to each tower that still exists today, Thien Y Thanh Mau Tower (Nha Trang) has a larger main building than many towers in My Son (Quang Nam).
- If talking about time, the temple complex in My Son is older, but the architecture and materials of the tower in Nha Trang are still similar.
- My Son Sanctuary is built separately, far from residential areas; Meanwhile, the towers in Nha Trang are close to the sea and people’s living region.
- Nowadays, the temples in My Son in Quang Nam is the only a place to visit; Nha Trang’s tower group still serves the people’s worship.
Notes when visiting
Like other religious places and beliefs in Vietnam, you need to note:
- Limit entering the tower to film and take pictures.
- Do not wear knee-length pants, halter tops, or shirts that are too short to enter the temples.
- The way to the tower has many levels, please note this problem if there are elderly and weak health in the group.
- This attraction has a relatively short visiting time. Therefore, you should combine it in the 1-day tour program in Nha Trang, or add other nearby tourist attractions in Nha Trang to explore together, such as the mud bath area behind the mountain, Long Son pagoda and a local market in the City Center.