About 69 km from the bustling beach city of Da Nang lies the ruins of a temple complex: My Son, the erstwhile religious and cultural center of the Kingdom of Champa. Comparable to sites such as Angkor Wat, My Son is the only place of worship for ancient Hinduism remaining in Vietnam.
Conflicts have taken their toll on My Son. Many formerly-glorious brick structures have been reduced to rubble. The temple complex was where the Kings of Champa built monuments to their lives, their gods, and their deaths. Shiva, the patron of Champa royalty, was principally worshipped here. Much mystery still surrounds the complex, as even their method of construction is not completely understood.
Although the temples are relics of a lost civilization, tourists are highly encouraged to research and follow respectful behavior at My Son, both for the dead and their living Cham descendants. Unlike most Asian places of worship, incense is not allowed here. Visitors should not sit or climb on structures. There isn’t much to see in My Son except ruins, certainly nothing to buy or eat, but a visit is a good occasion to reflect upon the passage of time and the inexorable power of history.