Vietnam’s Champa Kingdom Marches on-
A rare look at the Balamon Cham, one of only two surviving non-Indic indigenous Hindu peoples in the world, with a culture dating back thousands of years
BY VRNDAVAN BRANNON PARKER,
THE CHAM HINDUS OF VIETNAM ARE AN ALMOST FORGOTTEN PEOPLE, remnants of the Cham dynasty which endured in the region now known as central Vietnam from the 7th century well into the 19th. They are 60,000 strong, kept their traditions alive for centuries, far from India’s shores. Builders of cities named Indrapura, Simhapura, Amaravati, Vijaya and Panduranga, these Hindu people and their culture continue to flourish to this day.
While today the Cham are Vietnam’s only surviving Hindus, the nation once harbored some of the world’s most exquisite and vibrant Hindu cultures. The entire region of Southeast Asia, in fact, was home to numerous Hindu kingdoms. The many magnificient temples and artifacts, from Angkor Wat to Prambana, remain as potent testimonials to their splendor and accomplishments. These grand edifices still stand, though the societies around them no longer worship there or practice the lost traditions.
Champa was a formidible Hindu kingdom, renowned for its immense wealth and sophisticated culture. Its major port was Kattigara. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Claudius Ptolemy wrote of Cattigara and outlined it on his map of the world. Modern scholarship has confirmed Cattigara as the forerunner of Saigon (modern day Ho Chi Minh City).Cattigara was, in fact, the main port at the mouth of the Mekong River, a name derived from Mae Nam Khong, the Mother Water Ganga.Read more here-