Overview of Hinduism
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world and with more than a billion followers. This religion is a conglomerate of religious, philosophical and cultural ideas and practices that were born in India thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. In India today, Hinduism is the dominant religion that is practised by the majority of the inhabitants.
Hinduism teaches four « Purusarthas » – these are the purposes of human existence to have a happy life:
- The Dharma: the duty, the good conduct of each individual to respect the social order.
- Artha: earn money honestly to provide for your family, and gain wealth and power.
- Kama: seeking desire, wish, passion, and love in order to balance one’s life.
- the Moksha: the liberation of the cycle of recognitions.
Among these four “Purusarthas”, the Dharma is above all. If the dharma is neglected in favour of the material desires of Artha and Kama, life becomes chaotic and Moksha – the ultimate ideal of human life – cannot be achieved.
The fundamental principles in Hindu life are to do good deeds, pray and worship the gods to lead a pure and benevolent life.
« Om » (or « Aum ») is the sacred syllable of Hinduism, the fusion of the Sanskrit letters A, U and M. « Om » is not a word, but rather an intonation, which, like music, transcends the barriers of age, race, culture and even species.
Hinduism in Vietnam
Like Buddhism, Hinduism was introduced to Vietnam through the trade route. Hinduism experienced a prosperous period in the kingdom of Champa – existing from the seventh century to the nineteenth century and now located in southern Vietnam. Nowadays, there are about 50,000 people of the Cham ethnic group in the south-central coastal area and they make up the majority of Vietnamese who practice Hinduism.
We can find the Hindu origin in certain daily practices in Vietnamese ethnic families, such as the rites of healing the sick and the practice of wrapping the string around the house to drive away evil spirits.
Among the Chams in Vietnam, about 4,000 Hindus live in Saigon, where the Mariamman Temple is important to the community. In Ninh Thuan Province, where most of Vietnam’s Cham reside, there are about 32,000 Hindus and others are in Binh Thuan Province.
Although Vietnam is mainly a Buddhist country, it still has a mix of other religions. This is displayed by Hindu temples.
The Cham people have erected Hindu temples in some areas in central and southern Vietnam. Many are still in use such as the My Son Sanctuary. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous temple complexes in Cham.
Hindu temples are one of Vietnam’s top attractions. Tourists come here to admire beautiful structures and intricate patterns. There is a large amount of beautiful Hindu temples. Note: Please wear appropriate outfits that cover the knees when visiting the temples.
Horizon Vietnam Travel offers you some of the temples to visit to better understand the Hindu religion in Vietnam
It is one of the famous Hindu temples of Vietnam built in the nineteenth century by Hindus who came here for commercial purposes. Located in the first district of Saigon, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Mariamman. This pretty temple reflects the culture of South India and its craftsmanship.
Foreign visitors find this temple unique because of its beautiful stones, and you will find the statues of all the Hindu gods and goddesses there. This temple reigns a very peaceful atmosphere and is ideal for meditation.
Po Nagar Towers
This sacred place of worship of the second century AD. It was built by King Cham Satyavarman to honour the goddess Po Nagar. Literally translated as “the mother of the land”, she is said to have taught agricultural and weaving techniques to the Cham people.
Located in Khanh Hoa Province, the Towers of Po Nagar Cham are square red-brick structures with tapered roofs. There were once ten buildings, each worshipping a different deity, but now there are only four left. The tallest building, at 25 meters, the Po Nagar Kalan, is the most impressive. Other towers are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, etc.
My Son Sanctuary
My Son is located in Duy Xuyen Ward in Quảng Nam Province, near Hoi An City. My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the most renowned religious complex in the Kingdom of Champa. It is one of the leading Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia. It was built from the fourth century to the fourteenth century AD.
These temples are also dedicated to Lord Shiva and other gods. The first temple was built of wood in the fourth century but was later destroyed. Then, the Cham kings continued to build new temples and stone towers. According to many French, Polish and Vietnamese researchers, the architecture of the My Son Sanctuary is influenced by Arab, Malaysian, Indonesian and especially Indian culture.
Horizon Vietnam Travel hopes that this article will allow you to discover Hinduism in Vietnam. Coming to our country, you can immerse yourself in the unique culture of Hinduism and contemplate the original architectural monuments.