Phan Rang–Tháp Chàm, also called Panduranga (a Sanskrit word of Hindu origin), is a new city in Vietnam and the capital of Ninh Thuận Province. The community has a population of 161,000 (2004), of which 91,000 (2004) live in the main city. During the Vietnam War, Phan Rang was the site the United States Air Force’s Phan Rang Air Base. The airfield had been established by the Japanese in World War II and was later used by the French.
Tháp Chàm and Pham Rang district has become a centre for the maintenance of Cham culture. Much of the district is occupied by Cham people where they have rice paddies, orchards of grapes and peaches, flocks of goats and Brahman cattle. Their towers (the ‘Thap’) are beautiful memorials to their kings and queens. There are several Cham sites with dilapidated towers along the central coast of Vietnam and major sites in Mỹ Sơn and Nha Trang.
However, there are two sites in the Tháp Chàm – Phan Rang district being maintained and culturally active. Two kilometers west of the Tháp Chàm Railway Station, there is excellent hilltop Cham tower complex dedicated to the king Po Klong Garai, the last reigning king; his likeness is depicted on a lingam in the sanctuary of the central tower. A second tower for the king Po Re Do is located about 20 km south west of Tháp Chàm, via Phu Quy to Phouc Hou and the village Hau Sanh; this tower is undergoing extensive renovation (July 2012).
The towers are currently used for the very colorful Cham festivals, particularly “Kate” in October (Oct 15 in 2012) when they still sacrifice a bullock and other food offerings. Other ceremonies for Ramadan, a Rain Festival (as required), weddings and other celebrations are also held. Apart from the incorporation of Islam into their cultural and religious practice, another point of cultural difference is that their heredity line is maternal. The animist foundation of Cham culture, with fire motif on the towers, rustic traditions and very colorful ceremonial dress makes the Cham culture an ideal tourist resource for Vietnam, as yet poorly developed.
Architecturally, the towers are intricately built in small red bricks, almost dry stone construction with very fine mortar lines. The towers are topped by calyx like minarets, arches are rimmed by special bricks fired with tongue like extensions on the extremities to represent flames; it is very intricate brick work requiring sophisticated engineering to deal with the overhang.
Associated with the Po Klong Garai complex there is a cultural centre, more functionally built with concrete, bricks, mortar and render, but at least with some of the line of the Cham architecture and housing a display of cultural and handi-works, and excellent photographs and paintings by Cham artists.
Danang city ↔ Phanrang city
You can be easy to book the online tickets at www.danangbus.com
– Length: 610 Km, about 16 hours.
– Departure time from Danang: 16:30 and 19:00
– Booking office in Da Nang:
Da Nang central bus station
Add: 201 Ton Duc Thang St, Hoa Minh ward, Lien Chieu Dist, Danang.
Or Representative office of Da Nang central bus station at:
Add: 63 Huynh Ly St, Thuan Phuoc ward, Hai Chau Dist, Danang
Tel: (+84-236) 3 89 82 86