Travel Myanmar | Temples
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Myanmar is famous for its wide number of temples that adorn the country. It is one of the most devout Buddhist countries in the world. You will be able to find temples, pagodas and stupas of all shapes, sizes, colours and varying significance here. While the country is famous for the temple town of Bagan, the rest of the country also offers magnificent temples which deserve a visit.

Temples have been built historically by the Kings who ruled the country. Many of the historic temples have been maintained and restored for the sake of preserving history and religious beliefs of the local people. Today, old temples stand tall beside the newly constructed ones to ensure travellers have a lot to explore when they are here.

Must Visit Shrines

ABEYADANA TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Abeyadana temple is a Buddhist temple in Bagan built in the 12th century. The temple complex is vast and beautiful hosting a large central temple. The main idol is a brick image of Gautama Buddha. On the side of Buddha’s image, there is a portrait of Abeydana praying to him. Don’t miss the 8 rows of Jataka frescos on the northern side of the entrance. You should also visit the subsidiary panel which depicts Buddha while delivering his first sermon. The temple also has an image of Goddess Tara dressed in the royal attire.

DHAMAYANGYI TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Dhammayangyi Temple is the largest Buddhist temple of Bagan built by King Narathu between 1167-1170. It is also the widest temple in Bagan and has a plan similar to Ananda Temple, however, the temple was never fully completed owing to the death of King Narathu. When you visit the temple, you will be able to see construction debris especially in three of the four sanctums in the inner core. This massive pyramid-shaped structure will surely leave you awestruck.

THATBYINNYU TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

A prominent pagoda of Bagan, Thatbinnyu Pagoda is one of the highest monuments in Bagan too. Calling it majestic will not be an overstatement. It towers above all the nearby temples and can be seen clearly while riding a hot air balloon or from the viewing tower. This was one of the first 2-storey pagodas of Bagan. The temple has a square base on which the first and the second storey stands. The top of both the storeys has three receding terraces. Each terrace has a small stupa on each of its 4 corners.

WET GYI INN GU PYAUK GYI TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

This temple is located south of Bagan in the Myinkaba village. It is a Buddhist temple built in 1113 AD by Prince Yazakumar. You can visit this temple to explore the wide variety of frescos which are well-preserved on the interior walls. These are the oldest original paintings found in Bagan. The temple exhibits both Mon and Indian elements and has a tower built in the Indian Shikhara style. It has a square base which is shaped like a pot.

ANANDA TEMPLE`

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

The Ananda Temple is one of the most famous temples in Bagan built in 1105 AD by King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty. It is one of the best-preserved temples of Bagan. The temple has several terraces and houses 4 standing Buddha statues on four cardinal corners. The temple derives its name from Ananda, Buddha’s first cousin, disciple, his personal secretary and a devout attendant. Much of the temple was damaged during the earthquake of 1975 but was restored thereafter.

HISTORICAL WONDERS

SULAMANI TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Sulamani Temple is a frequently visited temple in Bagan, located in the village of Minnanthu. It was built in 1183 by King Narapatisithu and resembles the design of Thatbyinnyu Temple. The temple also exhibits influences from the Dhammayangyi Temple. It was the model for the Htilominlo Temple. Much of the temple broke down during the earthquake in 1975 but was restored thereafter. Sulamani Temple is undoubtedly one of the most elegant temples of Bagan.

GANDAWPALIN TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Gandawpalin Temple is a shimmering white Buddhist pagoda and another jewel of Bagan. The construction started during the reign of Narapatisithu and completed during King Htilominlo’s reign. It is the second tallest temple in Bagan and best seen from the hot air balloon. The temple layout resembles the Thatbyinnyu Temple – two storeys with three lower and four upper terraces. Like many other temples of Bagan, this too was heavily damaged during the 1975 earthquake and restored at a later stage. This hollow gu-style temple is still used for worshipping Buddha and meditation.

THAMBULLA TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

A notable temple in Bagan is Thambulla Temple built by Queen Thambulla, wife of King Uzana during 1255. It is a squarish monument decorated with corridors running around the central square pillars. The interior walls are ornate with paintings depicting 550 jataka stories. There are ink inscriptions in Pali language under the figures of Atthavisati Buddhas. The entire temple is fenced with a wide enclosure wall. The temple complex contains a monastery and an ordination hall in the southeast corner.

THITSAWADI TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Visit this one of its kind 3-storeyed temple in Bagan. One of the largest temples of Bagan, Thitsawadi Temple exhibits the best of ancient architecture. It has beautiful stuccos all over and interesting mural paintings. Don’t miss out the stone inscriptions which date back to 1334 AD. They contain information about the temple, the land, slaves and how the temple is protected from no harm. There is also an ink inscription dating back to 1484 AD about the maintenance of the temple.

PYATHADAR (PYATHATGYI) TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

A visit to Bagan is incomplete without visiting this large and impressive brick temple located in the Southeast of the city. It is one of the only remaining double cave monasteries, while others are long gone since they were made of wood. The temple exhibits the architectural expertise of the artisans. There are several images of Buddha in a sitting and standing position. This temple was built by King Kyaswa during the 13th century. This is one of the last large temples of Bagan, since, after this, the size of temples became smaller due to the scarcity of land in Bagan.

Pride of Myanmar

NANPAYA TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Travel to the Myinkaba village, south of Bagan to visit the Nanpaya Temple, located adjacent to the Manuha Temple. This is a Hindu Temple built by captive Thaton kingdom King Makuta. The construction material consists of stones, bricks and mud mortar. It is believed to be the residence of Manuha. Explore the intricate carvings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses on the walls of the temple. Since Manuha was a Mon, you will be able to see many figures and symbols of Mon culture within the temple.

MANUHA TEMPLE

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

One of the oldest temples of Bagan and a prominent Buddhist temple in the village of Myinkaba near Bagan is the Manuha Temple built by the captive Mon King Manuha in 1067 AD. This rectangular two-storeyed building contains an image of Buddha entering Nirvana and three images of seated Buddhas. The central image is 46 feet high and is in the ‘calling the earth to witness’ posture. It is an active temple where locals gather for prayers regularly. Don’t miss the reclining Buddha statue when you visit Manuha temple.

DHAMMA YARZIKA ZEDI

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Dhamma Yarzika Zedi is shaped like a conical spire rising from a pentagonal platform. It has three terraces. There are small temples painted with murals at the base and in the middle of each side. Each temple contains an image of the four Buddhas – Gautama, Kakusanda, Kassapa and Konnagone, all the incarnations of Buddha who have graced the earth. They also contain an image of Bodhisattva Mettaya, the Budhha of the future. The temple contains stone inscriptions dating back to 1196 AD to 1198 AD which give a detailed understanding of the construction of the temple and gives a glimpse of Bagan during that time.

KYAUK GU UMIN

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

Kyauk Gu Umin is a massive three-storeyed temple with an interesting look and feel. The temple is built of greenish, fine-grained hard sandstone that is rare in Bagan. The ground floor is 40 ft high. Don’t miss the 52 ft long richly carved decorations of the north facade when you visit this temple. There are also intricate relief carvings at the bottom edge of the entrance depicting stone ogres wearing loop earrings and elephants in mammoth sizes. There are two doorwars which lead to the darker caves behind.

KYAN SITTHAR UMIN

Location: Bagan, Mandalay Region

 

An interesting temple to visit in Bagan is the Kyan Sitthar Umin built in the 11th century. This is actually a cave which was part of a monastery. The dark and shallow cave has many hallways and rooms covered with old and interesting paintings. You will have to remove your footwear to enter the cave. Not to worry, it is very clean. We suggest you carry a flashlight with you because the insides are pretty dark. Photography is prohibited inside the cave to preserve the old artefacts.

Spiritually Uplifting

SHIT THAUNG TEMPLE

Location: Mrauk U, Rakhine State

 

Built between 1535 to 1536 to commemorate King Min Bin’s conquest of Bengal, the name of this temple literally means ‘Temple of Victory’. It is also known as the ‘Temple of 80,000 Buddha Images’. It contains a central bell-shaped stupa surrounded by 4 smaller stupas at the corners and several smaller stupas surrounding them. There is a central hall which houses hundreds of Buddha statues in a line. The main feature of the temple is not the central hall, but the 3 layers of maze-like corridors surrounding the central hall which contain innumerable statues and carvings.

KOE THAUNG TEMPLE

Location: Mrauk U, Rakhine State

 

This is the largest temple in Mrauk U, an archaeological site in the Rakhine State. It is a beautiful temple containing 90,000 Buddha images. It was built between 1554 and 1556 by King Dikkha. Visit this during sunrise to see the beautiful view of the first rays of sun falling on the temple. You can hire a bicycle to explore the surrounding areas. The temple itself is located slightly away from Mrauk U city centre and is best reached by cycle or a vehicle.

HTUKKANTHEIN TEMPLE

Location: Mrauk U, Rakhine State

 

This temple is one of the most famous temples in Mrauk U located in Rakhine State in Western Myanmar. It is a dual purpose temple, designed to serve as a fortress cum temple. It is by far the most militaristic building in Mrauk U with a single entrance and small windows. Built-in 1571 by King Min Phalaung, the temple is located on a small hill, a stone’s throw away from the Shite-thaung temple. There is a dome in the centre with a mushroom-shaped crown or hti, a common feature of many temples in the country.

SOON U PONYA SHIN PAYA

Location: Sagaing, Sagaing Region

 

Visit this exquisite gold pagoda located on the highest hill of Sagaing which is a popular centre of worship by the locals. It was built in the 14th century and is well maintained. The main hall is ornate with a large statue of Buddha covered in gold. The walls are covered with dazzling turquoise crystals. You will be able to see a great view of the river from this pagoda. You can hike up the mountain to visit this pagoda in case you are up for it.

MYA THEIN TAN TEMPLE

Location: Sagaing, Sagaing Region

 

A prominent temple in the Sagaing region is the Mya Thein Tan Temple built by King Sagaing. The temple enshrines an expensive and rare emerald. The overall structure is huge and impressive, it will take around half an hours for you to explore this temple. Although the overall layout is pretty simple, we bet you have not seen anything like this before. You can take a car ride or a boat ride to reach Sagain and plan a half day tour to explore this temple and the others.