21st.February, My Son – Flug nach Saigon
Today we spent the morning relaxing at the hotel before leaving at 12:00 on a roundabout route for Da Nang airport. We first visited the My Son temples of the Cham people, who were a Hindu Tribe from India who managed to establish themselves between here and nearly to Saigon before they were practically wiped out by the Vietnamese around 1820. We had visited a museum of Cham sculptures on the previous day.
My Son is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples, constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa. The temples were dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvara. It was a site of religious ceremony for kings of the ruling dynasties of Champa, as well as a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes. At one time, the site encompassed over 70 temples lying in a valley roughly two kilometres wide that is surrounded by mountain ranges. It is perhaps the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina, but a large majority of its architecture was destroyed by US carpet bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War. The temples abandoned because of wars remained forgotten in the jungle until rediscovered by the French. They are now mostly just brick ruins but some are being restored.
It had been very hot by the time we arrived and I thought the most attractive part of the ruins was their jungly setting. Then on to the airport but no rush – the flight was delayed by nearly an hour as usual. As a result I have finished the book which I had wit me and we did not reach the hotel here in Saigon until nearly 9pm. We just had time for dinner in a nearby restaurant of chicken wings with rice, hot and soy sauce.