My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam Province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has been implementing a major project to preserve My Son heritage site in the central province of Quang Nam after the ancient religious relic was recognised as a World Heritage site in 1999.

In 2008, then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved the project to conserve the relic in an area of 11,160ha in 2008-2020, aiming for sustainable conservation of the relic in line with the country’s development.

The project comprises two phases. The first, implemented from 2010 to 2016, aimed to collect scientific data, clear all remains of bombs and chemical toxins left in the area as consequences of war, as well as improve infrastructure and recover the local forest. The second phase to restore highly-collapsible relics began in 2016.

Once the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom, My Son relic site is located in a hilly landscape in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, about 70 km southwest of Da Nang city and 40 km from Hoi An city.

It comprises eight groups of 71 monument built throughout the 7th -13th centuries.

The temples in My Son were built into groups that basically followed the same model. Each group was comprised of a main sanctuary (Kalan), surrounded by towers and auxiliary monuments. The towers, topped with tiled, covered roofs, were stocked with offerings and sacred objects of the pilgrims. Cham temples do not have windows, so they are very dark inside. Windows are found only in the towers.

However, there were only about 20 towers remaining.

Quang Nam province has focused on protecting the historical and cultural values of the relic, with programmes re-enacting ancient Cham people’s festivals in the My Son Sanctuary will be held soon. In addition, local authorities have banned gas-powered vehicles in the 320-ha core area of the site.

Apart from activities to conserve the heritage, the My Son World Heritage site Management Board has made forest protection an important task. It has established guard units and procured equipment to prevent forest fires, while tackling poaching.

Indigenous plants have also been planted to increase forest coverage and preserve valuable breeds.

To raise the efficiency of forest protection, the management board devised measures to enhance forest posts and patrol units along with communication campaigns to raise awareness about environmental protection and forest management.-VNA