Bang An Cham Tower

By Hoang Ly |

This tower was named after Bang An village (Dien An commune, Dien Ban district, Quang Nam province). It located on No 14 Road and 27km to the south of Da Nang city. The inscription carved on a stone stele found in Bang An commune showed that King Bhadravarman II built Linga Paramesvara (Linga Supreme - another name of Siva). According to the researcher, this stele was made around the year 875 to 977 AD.

Bang An tower is over 20m high with a quite high base, the main tower body is an octagonal cylinder, each side wall is 4m long. It’s the only octagonal shape one still be existed up to date in Vietnam (Chanh Lo Cham tower in Quang Ngai province is also in the octagonal shape, but collapsed and do not know the shape of the top).

The tower’s lobby is quite long with a main gate facing east and two side doors at both sides of the hall. Its walls is flake without fake doors, pillars and motif decoration. At the foot and the top of the walls, there are geometric moldings gradually flared, contact the tower base and support the conical dome, with 8 curved roof and gradually tapered at the top. On the edge lines of the roofs left traces of sandstone architectural decoration. The top part of the tower was lost. The heavily damaged lobby was restored by French Engineering and Public Work authority in 1940, but two side doors of the lobby were transformed into two windows. Outside of the tower, there are two sandstone Gajasimha statues, a rattles ring of Bang An Gajasimha (the same kind of Chien Dan and Chanh Lo Gajasimha’s rings), a stylized neck plumage, the nails can be seen clearly, short and curved trunk.

Based on 2 Chanh Lo style Gajasimha statues and the octagonal foundation of Bang An tower, J.Boisselie confirmed both Binh An and Chanh Lo Towers are belonged to the same age (11th century). According to some other researchers, however, the building style of octagonal cylindrical body towers is like the big octagonal brick pillars of Dong Duong and Ponaga monuments. Therefore, it was made in the late of the 9th to the early of 10th centuries. The two Gajasimha statues were made in the later century while the tower was still worshiping Siva.

In our opinion, the external appearance of Bang An tower looks like a great Linga.  It’s Linga Paramesvara which was built in the late of the 9th century by King Bhadravarman II. The tower may be repaired, but basically remained the original shape. According to H.Parmentier’s  description and drawing, in this area, there had been traces of the foundations of two small subordinate structures, one in the southwest and one in the northeast of the main tower, but today, these traces were disappeared because of flooding.

By Hoang Ly