ASI unearths 9th century Shiv Linga during restoration of temple complex in Vietnam
A Shiv Linga or representation of the Hindu deity Shiva dating back to the 9th century has been unearthed at Cham temple complex in Vietnam during restoration work by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
External affairs minister S Jaishankar announced the find on Twitter on Wednesday, saying the development underscored the “civilisational connect” between the two countries and was also a “great cultural example of India’s development partnership”.
“Reaffirming a civilisational connect. Monolithic sandstone Shiv Linga of 9th c CE is latest find in ongoing conservation project. Applaud @ASIGoI team for their work at Cham Temple Complex, My Son, #Vietnam. Warmly recall my visit there in 2011.
Cham temple complex, part of the UNESCO world heritage site of My Son in Quang Nam province of Vietnam, was built in the 9th century AD during the reign of King Indravarman II, who was also responsible for the famous Dong Duong Buddhist monastery in the same region.
A four-member team from ASI is currently engaged in the fourth season of restoration and conservation work at My Son. This year’s work schedule runs from January to June. Over the past three seasons, ASI has restored temples in two different groups at the complex, and the team is now working on a third group of temples.
“During the current restoration work at the temples, the ASI team found the Shiv Linga. It is a monolithic structure with decorative patterns of very exquisite cultural value,” said an official who declined to be named.
“Before this, six other Shiv Lingas were found in the My Son temple complex. But the latest find is believed to be the most magnificent,” the official added.
French experts discovered the temple complex in a dilapidated condition in 1903-04. During excavations at that time, French archaeologists had described the presence of a Shiv Linga in the group of temples that is currently being renovated.
However, due to limited excavation capabilities in those days, this Shiv Linga could not be recovered. Subsequently, political disturbances and wars in Vietnam led to destruction of the temple complex.
The external affairs ministry created a new Development Partnership Division (DPA-IV) in January to coordinate and undertake culture and heritage conservation projects abroad, including identification, planning and implementation of schemes in consultation with technical agencies.
The new division will also act as a repository of all such projects being undertaken by India abroad, and be instrumental in dissemination of information of projects and cooperation in culture and heritage.