Cultural authorities in Khanh Hoa Province said Thursday they ordered a souvenir shop inside the Po Nagar tower to remove two photos of a naked woman displayed for sale in front of the temple tower.
The order came hours after Thanh Nien ran an article about the nude photos, which were touted as artistic pictures and sold for VND 3 million (US$134) each.
Nguyen Tuan Dung, deputy head of the province Cultural Heritage Management Center, said authorities would shut down the shop if a similar violation occurs again.
Po Nagar is a Cham temple tower built before 781 CE in the medieval principality of Kauthara in what is modern-day Nha Trang. It attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year.
It is dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of the country, who is identified with the Hindu goddesses Bhagavati and Mahishasuramardini, and who in Vietnamese is called Thien Y Thanh Mau.
“Visitors are not allowed to wear shorts and miniskirts while visiting the tower,” Che Thi Thanh Nga, a pilgrim, was quoted as saying by Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper. “So how could they sell nude photos right inside the tower?”
Many have questioned the artistic value of the photos. In one of them, a naked woman is photoshopped next to a tiger. In another, a woman sits with a blue sky backdrop behind her.