Restoration on Dong Duong Cham sanctuary

TN News

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A seminar of leading archeologists on restoring Dong Duong Cham sanctuary took place on August 17 in Quang Nam Province.

According to research professor Truong Quoc Binh, member of the National Heritage Council, Dong Duong citadel was founded by King Indravarman II when he constructed a large Buddhist monastery in 875. This also served as the center of Indrapura capital of the Champa kingdom, and one of the most important Champa Buddhist relics in South East Asia region.

It was first studied by French scholar L. Finot in 1901 and then unearthed by French architect turned archeologist H. Parmentier in 1902.

It was recognized as a national relic in 2000. Many valuable antiques, such as statues or sculptures found at Dong Duong are now displayed at the Champa's Sculptures Art Museum in Da Nang City.

Dong Duong sanctuary was once the biggest Buddhist monastery of South East Asia, but now is left in disrepair, wrought by the French and American wars, in the province's somber forest. There is only one tower left, surrounded by the shattered foundations of other buildings.

Noted professor Hoang Dao Kinh said he faced a formidable task when he teamed up with local and international agencies to restore My Son Cham sanctuary, which was briefly supplanted by Dong Duong as the center of Cham religious and intellectual life during the 9th century.

Kinh said it will be much more difficult to restore the Dong Duong site.

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After studying the site, he said the most urgent task now is preserving each of the foundations. According to Kinh, protecting the relic from becoming the target of fake antiques traders will help Dong Duong be recognized as a World Heritage Site.

Kinh also revealed that he did not recognize the site's great value until the French released a series of photos about the relic.

Tran Minh Ca, vice chairman of Quang Nam People's Committee, said that the provincial committee will start researching the restoration project and will protect the relic's remains through the coming rainy season.

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