Developed between the 4th and 13th centuries, My Son Sanctuary is a unique product of an indigenous community influenced by Hinduism on the coast of Vietnam. The site was once the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom. It contained a series of tower temple ruins with various architectural designs, signifying the importance of Mount Meru, the mythical abode of Hindu gods and the center of the universe.
The kingdom of Champapura was founded in 192 AD on a high basin surrounded by mountains. This ring of mountains constituted a watershed for the sacred Thu Bon River which flew through the My Son Sanctuary and then drained into the South China Sea. Therefore, the center of the Champa Kingdom was strategically important and easy to protect.
Influenced by Hinduism and the culture of the Indian sub-continent, the Cham people built several temples over a millennium. They dedicated these sacred structures to Hindu gods and goddesses such as Krishna, Vishnu, and especially Shiva. Although there was also a Mahayana Buddhist influence during the early periods, Shivite Hinduism became the established religion.
The Cham people used fired brick with stone pillars for construction and decorated the temples with sandstone reliefs depicting mythological scenes. The sophistication of the architecture as well as the elaborate symbolism in the decorations graphically demonstrates the skillful engineering of the Cham people. They also give information about the development of religious and political thought in the kingdom.