My Son Heritage Site, located between two mountain ranges, accessed by a winding, narrow path through the forest, is the centre for spirituality and worship during the reign of the Chămpa Kingdom.
While the earliest evidence of the Kingdom of Champa using this site dates to some 16 centuries ago, most of the structures and remains you see there today date from the 10th to 13th centuries. The My Son towers, located in Quang Nam Province of central Vietnam, have been a great pride of the Cham people and Vietnamese in general. This unique site offers a reflection of the Cham culture which flourished from early 4th century till the end of 14th century. This is the best destination for not only your Vietnam Discovery Tour but also for Vietnam Honeymoon Packages because of its own story.
An interesting story often recounted about My Son, which happened in real life but which sounds like a tall tale, tells about an architect who was totally devoted to the restoration and reconstruction of the Cham towers. A Polish architect called Kazik spending 16 years working in this area. He became quite attached with the area and knew each tree and crumbling brick wall like the back of his hand. He had also fallen in love with a Cham girl, although he was unable to speak with her. They saw each other daily and were somehow able to communicate although they knew no language in common. Later, the girl learned Vietnamese language and they were better able to communicate. She actively supported his working group with their daily tasks. Although living in poverty, the Cham girl had a great passion for Apsara dancing. She was like a princess in the legend of Apsara, in which she was appointed by the gods to live on earth and teach people about Apsara dance.
As time passed by, the girl grew up into a young woman and continued her passion of dancing Apsara in the sun by the ancient towers. Kazic was most impressed to watch her dancing. To keep these moments in his memory, he secretly painted a picture of her dancing. She was about 18 years old then, and upon discovering his painting of her dancing, she was embarrassed and silently went away without saying goodbye. After she left the village, he couldn’t sleep well at night. Whenever he closed his eyes, he saw the image of an Apsara appearing on his mind, stepping out from a stone carving in the midst of a dance pose, face transfixed in passion. When he awoke, she returned to motionless stone. Apsara dance at My Son Heritage
Kazik started to work at My Son Centre in 1980. He passed away years later on a business trip to the nearby city of Hue, leaving his desire to restore the Cham towers unfinished. Before he died, he asked his colleagues to bury him in this area, saying: “I am unable to be far from this land. Even death cannot separate me from it. Please bury me here in My Son. I want to witness my girl come back!”
Most tourists, on their way to My Son on their Indochina Tour, pass by a small thatch cottage, the temporary shelter of a silent craftsman specialized in creating stone Apsara statues. Named Pham Ngoc Xuan, he was born and raised in My Son town, Duy Phu commune. He also experienced an innocent childhood in the natural setting of these mountains, amidst the towers and the wild winds and rains. He had great love for Apsara dancers since childhood, which brought him a lot punishment from his rigid and hot-tempered father. He used to lose his way among the Cham towers when watching Apsara images, consequently losing track of his family’s cows and, fearing his father’s punishment, even spending the night at the towers. Such penalties did not put off his love for Apsara statues, but rather made him more determined. Fortunately, his mother gave some direction to his passion and supported him to be a sculptor of Apsara statues.
Living in a small cottage, he works tirelessly to carve the best stone Apsaras. When clients enter, he gives them a brief smile and friendly greeting, and then continues his carving. There are various products for tourists to buy as souvenirs. Prices are not fixed, but depend on the client’s satisfaction. As tourists buy his products, Mr. Xuan smiles and expresses his thanks, happy to see that his own work is going to another country, and proud to be introducing the culture of his motherland abroad.