Champa Cave Pagoda

Friday - 16/10/2020 13:05
Literally called God’s Stone Cave Pagoda, the Champa Cave Pagoda sits in a cave on the northern side of Ly Son Island, in a cliff at the foot of Thoi Loi Volcano. The pagoda—with several stone altars placed inside—was a Champa-era temple. About 400 years ago, during the dynasty of King Le Kinh Tong (1588-1619), Vietnamese people took over the temple to worship Buddha and their ancestors.

The cave is about 480 square meters wide. In front of the cave, builders elevated the ground, making a big open area  that covered up to half of the cave’s mouth, probably to protect the cave from waves or to hide it from pirates. Around the cave entrance, the Champa planted several trees, trees that today are at least a few hundred years old. Inside the cave, builders used rocks to reinforce the vaulted cave walls. 

Inside the cave, in front of the pagoda, is a stream of freshwater that continuously flows from the roof. This stream originally may have eroded the volcano slope forming the cliff. This erosion may have generated the beach rocks that serve as a natural embankment protecting the cave.

Similar to that of Hang Cau Cliff, the cliff that holds this cave pagoda also provides interesting stories about Thoi Loi Volcano. For instance, an abraded sea bench at the current seawater level, and corals found in the volcanic ash and debris, indicates that the slope of Thoi Loi used to extend hundreds of meters out to the sea.

Due to its special cultural and historical values, the pagoda was recognized as one of the four national monuments on Ly Son Island in 1994.
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