1100-year-old monolithic sandstone Shivling unearthed in Vietnam’s Cham temple complex

The Archaeological Survey of India on Wednesday unearthed a monolithic sandstone Shiva Linga of the 9th century during its conservation project. The structure was excavated from the Cham Temple Complex at the My Son Sanctuary of Vietnam. It is a monolithic structure with decorative patterns of very exquisite cultural value. Before this, six other Shiva Lingas have already been recovered in the My Son Temple complex.

The temple complex was built in the 9th century A.D. under the reign of King Indravarman II who also built the famous Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam Province. French experts in 1903-1904 had discovered the temple complex in a dilapidated condition. During excavations at that time, the French archaeologists had described the presence of one Shivalinga in Group ‘A’ at the temple site. However, due to limited excavation capability at that time, it could not be recovered. Subsequently, political disturbances and wars in Vietnam led to further destruction of the temple complex.

Praising the ASI on the discovery, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the finding reaffirms a “civilizational connect” between the devotees of Lord Shiva around the world. He tweeted photos from the excavation and recalled his pleasant visit to the sanctuary in 2011.

1100-year-old Shivaling Found By ASI In Vietnam Temple
ASI excavates Shiv Ling in Vietnam; Photograph: Twitter

A 4-member team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been engaged in the fourth season of restoration/conservation work (annual work schedule of Jan-Jun 2020) at the world heritage site at My Son in Quang Nam Province of Vietnam. Over the previous three seasons, ASI has restored temples in Groups ‘K’ and ‘H’ and presently the work is under progress for temples in Group ‘A’.

My Son sanctuary in Vietnam is a designated UNESCO world heritage center and a home to a cluster of Hindu temples built over 10 centuries. The temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvara.

The 2000-year old shared history between Vietnam and India

India and Vietnam share a long, rich civilizational history that dates back to 2,000 years ago when the latter’s first civilized society was established.

The Champa civilization or the Cham civilization occupied what is today known as central Vietnam. India’s influence on the Cham civilization ranges from its archaeology to language with city names like Indrapura, Simhapura, Amaravati, Vijaya, and Panduranga.

Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary
Viethavvh / Public domain

“The oldest artifacts of a distinctly Cham civilization—brick flooring, sandstone pillars and pottery found at Tra Kieu in Quang Nam Province—date to the second century A.D,” a 2014 report in the National Geographic said.

Internationally renowned and award-winning marine archaeologist Robert Stenuit claimed that residents of the Cham civilization were great sailors and builders. He added that the Cham society also most likely practiced Shaivite Hinduism.

When President Ram Nath Kovind visited Vietnam in 2018, he began his journey from Da Nang, where the world heritage site of Mỹ Sơn falls — a place believed to have strong civilizational connect with India and the majority Hindu population.

Till today, archaeologists continue to discover citadels in this cluster and about 25 temple sites have survived in Vietnam.

According to the official website of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, “Many of their shrines honour Shiva—often shown as a linga, while their carvings depict all manner of Hindu deities.

Hindu doctrines were blended with homegrown beliefs, such as their conviction that they were descended from a goddess named Po Nagar, born from heavenly clouds and seafoam.”

- Advertisement -

Latest News

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.