Po Nagar is a Cham temple tower founded sometime before 781 C.E.
The Po Nagar complex is situated on Cù Lao Mountain. It consists of three levels, the highest of which encompasses two rows of towers. The main tower is about 25 m high.
The towers stand on a granite knoll 3km north of central Nha Trang, on the northern bank of the Cai River.
The temple’s central image is a 1.2m tall stone statue of the goddess Yan Po Nagar sitting cross-legged, dressed only in a skirt, with ten hands holding various symbolic items. According to Vietnamese scholar Ngô Vǎn Doanh, these attributes show that Yan Po Nagar was identified also with the Hindu goddess Mahishasuramardini or Durga, the slayer of the buffalo demon.
The overall architecture of the tower consists of 3 floors with a gate tower on the first floor which was totally destroyed.
In the 17th century, the Viet people occupied Champa and took over the temple tower, calling it Thiên Y Thánh Mâu Tower. A number of Vietnamese legends regarding the goddess and the tower have come into being.
The complex is considered as “female”. The fact is that in the time of the Cham kingdom ruling clans came under two headings: “male” (yin) and “female” (yang).
Ponagar Tower is dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of the country, who came to be identified with the Hindu goddesses Bhagavati and Mahishasuramardini, and who in Vietnamese is called Thiên Y Thánh Mẫu.
Originally the complex had seven or eight towers, but only four towers remain.
Po Nagar Cham Towers were built to honour the goddess Po Nagar- literally translated as ‘The mother of the Country’.