Tour Pagan
Bagan Buddhist Archaeological site
Ayeyarwaddy river
Myanmar

Take a walk, ride an ox cart, cross the river in a paddle boat, the rice field dotted with old temples - that is Bagan
Bagan temples, Ayeyarwaddy river, Tent Kyi hill

Home || Bagan architecture 1 | 2 | 3 || Country map | Bagan & around map || Travel plans || Contact tour operator || Life || Links
Mrauk U (Rakhine, Myanmar) || Luang Prabang (Laos) || Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

| Bagan architecture page 3 |

This is the excerpt from the paper prepared by Department of Architecture , Rangoon Institute of Technology in co-operation with the Department of Archaeology , The Ministry of Culture and Finance in 1989.

Gubyaukgyi at Myinkaba
Gubyaukgyi at Myinkaba
The Gubyaukgyi at Myinkaba was built in 1113 by Rajakumar, son of Kyansittha. In form it is much like the Apeyadana but, unlike the Apeyadana, it faces east rather than north and the richness of its decoration, executed in plaster, contrasts with the Apeyadana's simplicity. There are differences in the super structure too: above a stepped pyramid, in which are set dormer windows lighting the cella underneath, rises a mitre-shaped tower like that of the Ananda, with three arched niches in the lancets on each side. Moreover, a replica of a temple in a slightly different form is set above the vestibule.

Shwegugyi temple  Shwegugyi
Shwegugyi
Built by Alaungsithu (1113-1163) in 1131, the Shwegugyi represents the development of a new style in temple architecture. The basic plan is still that of the Apeyadana and the Gubyaukgyi: square cella and a surrounding ambulatory corridor in the main chamber, and a projecting vestibule on one of the sides, the northern in the case of the Shwegugyi. However, while the other three sides are closed in the Apeyadana and the Gubyaukgyi, the Shwegugyi has doorways in all three. These, and the open arched windows which replace the square or rectangular perforated windows of the Apeyadana and the Gubyaukgyi, give an abundance of light in the interior, eliminating the need for dormer windows.

Together with the more open aspect of the temple, there is a stress on the vertical. The ratio of the height to the base, which is 0.9:1 in the Apeyadana, becomes 1.5:1 in the shwegugyi; and while the superstructure of the shwegugyi and the Gubyaukgyi are not very different, the curvilinear tower of the shwegugyi has a slimmer appearance.

Thatbyinnyu
Thatbyinnyu (West elevation)
Thatbyinnyu
Thatbyinnyu temple (North-South section)
It was also Alaungsithu who built the Thatbyinnyu (That Byin Nyu) in 1144. Given detailed treatment in this volume. the Thatbyinnyu is located inside the city wall, near its southeastern corner. Like the other temples and pagodas,. it is set in a semi-arid landscape sparsely dotted with such xerophytes as the tamarind (magyi), the acacia (htanaung) and the neem (tamar).

More so than the Shwegugyi, the Thatbyinnyu represents an innovative development in temple architecture. It is the first of the double-storeyed temples to be built at Bagan, to be followed by the Sulamani, the Gawdawpalin and the Htilominlo. It is also the tallest temple at Bagan.

Each of the two storeys is in the form of a main chamber with a vestibule projecting to the east and with doorways on the other sides. Each storey has two floors, with an entresol in the vestibule between the first and second floors. The ground floor has an ambulatory corridor around the square central block, with a seated image of the Buddha facing the doorway on each of the sides except the east. On the eastern side, a central stairway -- whose entrance has an arch-pediment with decorated pilasters and a dvarapala (door guardian) standing with a slight dehanchement on either side -- leads from the vestibule to the first floor. There, two parallel ambulatory corridors run around the central block and two stairways on the eastern side lead to the terrace above the vestibule. In addition, narrow stairways in the side walls of the vestibule lead from the ground floor to the entresol and from thence stairways give access to the terrace. A central stairway from the second terrace above the vestibule leads to the second floor where the principal image of the temple is enshrined in a square vaulted cella with a surrounding ambulatory corridor. A narrow stairway set inside the side walls of the upper vestibule leads from the second floor to the third floor which takes the form of an ambulatory corridor set above that on the second floor.

The three receding terraces above the main chamber of the upper storey are surmounted by a tower in two parts, the upper being horizontally grooved and having a lancet on each face; a stupa with a small bell-shaped dome completes the superstructure.

Both storeys are well lit by doors and open arched windows, and the door and window pediments characteristic of Bagan architecture may be seen to advantage in the Thatbyinnyu. Often referred to as "flame pediments" because the stucco spires and rays seem to shoot up like tongues of flame.

Mimalaung-Kyaung
Mimalaung-Kyaung
The Mimalaung-Kyaung, built by Narapatisithu (1174-1211) in 1174, is a simple small temple, square in plan and without the usual extended vestibule. Facing the north, it is set off-centre on a high brick platform which is ascended by two flights of steps with a pair of lions at the foot of the second flight.

Built by Narapatisithu in 1181, the Sulamani, whose mitre-shaped tower is damaged, is a double-storeyed temple similar in form to the Thatbyinnyu but without the latter's multiplicity of floors. In the lower storey, there are four seated images, each set against the side of a square central block around which runs an ambulatory corridor. The main image on the eastern side is enshrined in a recess while the other three are set directly against the wall of the block. Stairways inside the walls provide access to the terrace above the main vestibule, and two stairways from the terrace lead to the vestibule and image chamber of the upper storey where another seated image is enshrined in a recess on the eastern side of the central block.

Also built by Narapatisithu, the Gawdawpalin resembles the Sulamani in form. However, there are four images in the upper storey, repeating the disposition of the lower.

Gubyaukgi at Wetkyi-in
Gubyaukgi at Wetkyi-in
The Gubyaukgi at Wetkyi-in was built in the early 13th century and repaired in 1468. Separated from the Gubyaukgyi at Myinkaba by a century of change and development, it provides an interesting contrast to the latter. The main chamber is rectangular in plan rather than square, and the vestibule in the east is very much shortened.

There is an absence of windows, light being provided by latticed false doorways. There is a link with the Gubyaukgyi at Myinkaba in the decoration of the pilasters and the frieze.

Above the main chamber rises a truncated pyramidal tower resembling that of the Mahabodhi. It is divided into horizontal bands in which are set tondos of the goddess Sri. On each face is a lancet with a vertical row of niches enshrining small images of the Buddha.

Htilominlo
Htilominlo
The Htilominlo, built by Nadaungmya (1211-1234), is a double-storeyed temple of the same form as the Sulamani and the Gawdawpalin and, like the Gawdawpalin, enshrines four images in each storey. The arched doors in these temples which replace the earlier windows give them the open aspect first seen in the Shwegugyi.

Mahabodhi temple  Mahabodhi
Mahabodhi
Inspired by the Mahabodhi at Bodh Gaya and itself inspiring the Wat Chet Yot at Chiang Mai, the Mahabodhi, built by Nadaungmya, is the only temple of its kind in Bagan. It is in the form of a rectangular hall facing the east, with a seated image of the Buddha set against the western back wall. Adjoining the main hall is a smaller chamber in the west. A series of projections on each side of the eastern facade provides a courtyard in the middle which is partly occupied by a wooden pavilion serving as a porch to the temple.

Above the hall rises a pyramidal tower, horizontally divided into seven stages, and a slim stupa, held in cusps, surmounts the tower. Stairways inside the walls provide access to the terrace above the hall and to the chamber set inside the tower where another image is enshrined. In contrast to the austerity of architectural decoration in most Bagan temples, the Mahabodi, like the original at Bodh Gaya, is profusely decorated, both in the main structure and in the tower, the main feature being niches in which images of the Buddha are enshrined.

Upali-Thein
Upali-Thein
The UPALI-Thein or sima was used for the ordination ceremony as well as for such other ceremonies as the confession of monks, after Lent, of offences against scriptural injunctions. Built in the second quarter of the 13th century, it is, like the temples and pagodas, set inside a walled enclosure with entrances in the east and south.
Rectangular in plan, it has doorways on all four sides and two small perforated windows on each of the longer sides. Two seated images of the Buddha of unequal size -- placed back to back and separated by a common back slab -- occupy the western end of the hall; the larger image faces the hall while the smaller one faces the western doorway. The painting inside the hall, as well as the architectural ornamentation outside -- the door pediments and the crenellations on the roof -- belong to the 18th century.


Asterism Travels & Tours - Quality private small group trips in Myanmar
Mountain villages and snow peaks in Putao, Kachin state

Photos essays, field reports - adventure, minority culture, life & environment
Pictures & information of unique travels in - Thailand | Laos

TrekThailand.net - Small private group adventure