Modern Legacy of the Kingdom of Champa
In the history of Vietnam you can find different connections with Cambodia. One of them is the Kingdom of Champa whose people fought against the almighty Khmer kingdom (today’s Cambodia).
The Kingdom of Champa originated in Central-South Vietnam with its capital located near Danang. The kingdom stretched west to areas now in modern Cambodia. The people practiced a religion, which was a mix between Hinduism, Buddhism and some influences from Indonesia. Like today, at that time local people made their living from trade and fishing.
In the seventh century, a conflict between the Khmer army and Dai Viet (Northern Vietnamese) was the start of an eight hundred year war. It was a battle in which the Khmer destroyed the Champa Kingdom piece by piece. In 1471 the Cham were defeated and the kingdom only reached as far as Nha Trang.
The temple of My Son – once known as the holy city – near Danang, became abandoned. Nowadays, the main part of the Cham people live between Phan Rang and Phan Thiet and in Chau Doc near the border with Cambodia. The ethnic group of the Cham still speaks its own language and practices its own religious rituals. In Chau Doc, clients can see some Cham floating villages with weavers and a local mosque where Cham children learn the Arabic language.
My Son temple is a must-visit for clients staying in Danang or Hoi An, as are the Cham temples in and around Phan Rang.
Clients visiting the Bayon temple in Cambodia can still witness this rival history as the temple has two well-preserved carvings depicting the battles between Khmer and Champa in detail.
To explore Cham heritage and for more information and bookings, please contact [email protected].
Photo by Andrea Schaffer