Temples And Caves In The Amazing Marble Mountains, Da Nang, Vietnam
The Marble Mountains are a very unique natural phenomenon, located only six kilometers from our hotel in Da Nang.
The city of Da Nang is a coastal city, with sandy beaches and long rivers.
In the north is the Son Tra mountain range, but to the south of Da Nang it is pretty flat.
Out of this flat landscape rises five mountains made of marble and limestone.
The five mountains vary in size, and each one is named after one of the five elements that comprise physical reality in Eastern Philosophy.
They are Earth, Wood, Fire, Water and Metal.
During the French colonial occupation of Vietnam, French geologists discovered that the mountains are actually made of marble, and named the five mountains the “Marble Mountains.”
There is a more poetic explanation, according to a Cham tribal legend.
The Cham people are the native tribe in this area.
They say that one day a dragon flew to Non Nuoc beach, and laid an egg there.
After a long time, the egg hatched and a beautiful girl stepped out of the egg.
The egg shell was broken into 5 pieces that became the five magical mountains that we see today.
There are several caves and grottoes in the Marble Mountains that have been transformed into beautiful Buddhist and Hindu shrines.
Artisans spent years carving the colorful marble, bringing ancient deities to life, out of the marble cave walls.
The openings at the top of some of the caves bring in mystical light beams and occasionally, rain.
Stone stairways lead to pagodas and hidden shrines, or to beautiful viewing spots.
Not all of the Marble Mountains are accessible to visitors.
One mountain was reduced to rubble by the quarrying of marble that took place here over many decades.
The shops around the Marble Mountains sell guardian lions and Buddha statues of all sizes, made of marble.
In the past, the marble was quarried out of the Marble Mountains, but after the collapse of the smallest mountain, this practice was stopped.
Now the marble statues are sculpted from marble that is brought here from the south.
The dark grottoes were truly amazing.
They were not musty or moldy.
They smelled of fresh rain mixed with sweet incense.
We got a map of the biggest Marble Mountain and we visited the caves and saw many of the Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries and small temples.
With every temple or cave we entered, I was more in awe.
The sanctuaries feature beautiful statues and celestial scenes carved out of the marble.
During the Vietnam war, some of the bigger caves were used as hospitals and surgery rooms.
They provided cool protection from the heat and were hidden in plain sight, from the terrible pain and injury that war inflicts on mankind.
If you are in the Danang area, please do not miss visiting this amazing place.
It will take your breath away, not only because you will have to climb many stairs all day, but because it is truly a beautiful place.
It shows how glorious a place can be, when human beings work with the marvels of Nature, to enhance our lives here…
With love from Da Nang,