Posted by: Johan Normark | March 29, 2009

My Son (but not really my son)

Vietnam quickly became one of my and my wife’s new favorite destination. As much of Southeast Asia it has plenty of archaeological remains (although not as extensive as Angkor, Bagan, Sukothai, etc.). Less well known to non-Southeast Asianists are the remains of the Champa kingdom in south and central Vietnam. In 2007 we visited the remains of My Son (A.D. 300-1100). It consists of roughly 70 structures in red bricks (mainly Hindu temples). The site was sacked by Suryavarman II’s (the founder of Angkor Vat) army in 1145 but the site continued to be used until the 14th century.

My Son
My Son

During the Vietnam war (or the American war as it is called in Vietnam) it was a hide out for FNL and 18 temples were partially destroyed by American bombs in 1969.

bomb

The Champa kingdom emerged through a rebellion against China in A.D. 192. The kingdom ceased to exist around 1720 after becoming a Vietnamese vassal two decades before. An important event in the history of the kingdom was its defeat and destruction of Yasodhapura (the earlier capital of the Khmer empire, located in Angkor) in 1177 but the Cham were driven away by the new Khmer king (Jayavarman VII) only four years later. This buddhist king created the last capital of Angkor, Angkor Thom with its massive moat and wall with the famous gates and my favourite among Khmer temples, the Bayon temple.

One of the gates to Angkor Thom
One of the gates to Angkor Thom

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