VIETNAM, March 17, 2015 (by Amanda Mcinerney, InDaily): “Officially, Vietnam is an atheist state, but a significant section of the population practices traditional religions; some adhere to Buddhism and there are quite a few Catholics left over from the French occupation. However, tucked away not far from Hoi An, is My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage site, once the location of the ancient Hindu Champa civilization and its majestic complex of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
Originally the religious and political capital of the Champa kingdom, the complex was built around the third or fourth century AD, and traces its spiritual roots back to Indian Hinduism. Consisting of 70 ruins over 57ha, the site was rediscovered and renovated by the French in the late 1890s, but was subsequently heavily bombed during the Vietnam War, when it was found to be a hiding place for the Viet Cong. Parts of the site are gradually being reconstructed using the traditional red bricks of the original work. My Son is an extraordinary example of an ancient culture — and one which kept written records. Much was recorded on perishable materials, but a great deal has been preserved on stone slabs or pillars and these have been a precious source of information for scholars and archaeologists.