Meaning “aloe” transliterated from the Sanskrit Chandan, Chien Dan is one of the ancient towers of Champa. Chien Dan ancient tower belongs to Chien Dan village, Tam An commune, Tam Ky town, Quang Nam province. Running along National Highway 1A, 10km to the north of Tam Ky town, 60km to Danang from the South, one can easily see the ancient Chien Dan tower.
Traveling in Hoi An has long been famous for many ancient places with many cultural values. This is also a promising land with ancient towers with a lifespan of thousands of years. Nestled modestly to the west of National Highway 1A, the ancient Chien Dan tower chooses a perfect foothold with a population of three Cham towers standing parallel to each other, closed in the north – south axis, the main gates. all turned east on a high hill.
Architecture imprinted with history
In Chien Dan still retains the appearance of an ancient Cham tower: a square tower with roof floors, in which the central tower is taller than the rest, the arches are pointed upwards like a spear. . Chien Dan Ancient Tower has an elegant and classic look similar to the style of My Son Holy Land , but in parallel, it has a transition to the style of Binh Dinh Cham Tower. It can be said that Chien Dan ancient tower is a strange, unique combination of ancient Cham artisans.
Built at the end of the tenth century – the beginning of the 11th century, the ancient tower of Chien Dan now does not retain its intact structure. In addition to the central tower, which still retains the complete appearance of ancient Champa architecture with the body and the top of the roof, the North – South towers on both sides can only retain one body. According to the researchers, Nam Chien Dan tower was built first, followed by the tower between the center and finally the North tower.
Each tower is called a Kalan, which is the most important prominent architectural part of the tower, also known as the small universe. The body of Chien Dan tower has no decorative patterns. The base of the tower is securely covered with sandstone foundation, while the vivid stone sculptures are inspired by the Indian epic Ramayana. The baseboard decoration in the Middle tower is still relatively intact, which is the intricate carvings. The sculptures are shown in various shapes, including soldiers holding weapons in guarding or fighting positions, pictures of naked dancers dancing gracefully in ancient Champa dances , there are also pictures of goddesses, mascot statues like Naga snakes, Garuda birds, elephants, lions, steles …
The statues of people and animals in Chien Dan also preserve some features of Tra Kieu art, at the end of the tenth century, especially the images of elephant heads turning horizontally with big shoulders. It can be said that the sculptures of Chien Dan ancient tower are highly appreciated for artistic value as well as history, which is of interest to researchers as well as tourists.
Preserving many valuable historical artifacts
According to archaeologists, there is currently no cluster of three ancient towers with the amount of artifacts excavated as much as Chien Dan ancient tower. In 1989, the sandstone tympan Mahisasuramardini was found depicting the image of the goddess Devi (an incarnation of the goddess Uma) with six arms, the upper two hands folded over her head, four The other hand held the bow, arrow, trident and ring. The goddess stepped on a buffalo’s back, her right leg was bent, her right leg was stretched out in a very brave posture.
Some typical sculptures discovered at the end of 2000 include: two chameleon statues, a sitting goddess, a sitting male figurine, a leaf-shaped relief, a statue Brahman monk, musician or Makara head spray gushing people … All of the ancient artifacts unearthed are made of earthen yellow sand of different sizes. In particular, in mid-1997, a stele of this tower was unearthed by archaeologists. It is a large stone, ground on one side, which is engraved with eight Sanskrit ancient lines – derived from the Indian word. Over time, the sculptures in Chien Dan had a clear evolution and development.
The ancient tower of Chien Dan today is majestic and humble, standing in the middle of the historical flow as a witness to an ancient ancient hero. If you have the opportunity to visit Quang Nam, this old but not old land will be a worthy choice to explore!