Fifteen years after it was recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the My Son Sanctuary continues to languish at the mercy of the elements, and a breakthrough solution to preserve its structures still eludes authorities.
The rainy season is the worst time for local authorities tasked with protecting the complex of Hinduism-influenced temple towers built between the fourth and 13th centuries.
The complex, which is located in the mountainous border district of Duy Xuyen in Quang Nam Province, central Viet Nam, consists of dozens of towers that are vestiges of a culture deeply influenced by Indian spiritual traditions, particularly Hinduism.
Of the 70 towers in the complex when the French archaeologists discovered it, 20 are severely dilapidated.
Nguyen Cong Khiet, deputy head of the My Son Relic Site’s managing board, said that they are on high alert whenever it starts raining, preparing to deal with the “worst situations”.
But, he said, the task is very difficult. For now, the board takes temporary measures like checking each tower’s surroundings again, building supports for trees that are likely to fall down and cutting down those that are too weak.
“This year, we have cleared all debris from the Khe The stream so that water can flow freely and the complex will not be flooded, as has happened in previous years,” he said.
The complex has received a lot of international support since 1982.
Various research teams from Poland, Japan, India and the US have visited the site and offered important constancy.
In September last year, cracks were seen in the B3 and B5 towers and there were signs that the structures were tilting and sinking. The management board has examined the structures and reported the problem to higher authorities. Though experts from the Ministry of Construction’s Science and Technology Institute have visited the site, no feasible solution has found.
“For the B3 tower, the most important thing is to deal with its foundation and find out the main reason for inclination and sinking,” said Ho Xuan Tinh, deputy director of Quang Nam’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
During his visit to India in October, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on preserving and renovating the My Son Sanctuary towers.