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Dhammayangyi Temple
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Good Time To Visit: The Whole Year
Visited: 2964 Time


Dhammayangyi temple, Dhammayangyi Pahto, Dhammayan-Gyi
About 1 kilometer South East of the old Bagan walls
Late period, One storey
Sulamani, Shwesandaw

Largest temple on the plains of Bagan

      The Dhammayangyi is the largest temple on the plains of Bagan. From a distance it resembles the early step pyramids of Egypt.
      The enormous structure that was never completed consists of a massive square base topped by six receding terraces.

King Narathu, builder of the temple

      The Dhammayangyi temple was build by King Narathu in 1170. Narathu became King of Bagan after murdering his father and his brother, who was next in line to become King. Narathu was probably worried about bad karma and build to massive temple to gain merit and to compensate for murdering his father and brother.
      The King was later murdered himself. There are several stories going around about the death of Narathu. One storey goes that the King was murdered by a group of Indians sent by the King of Pateikkaya. The murder was in revenge for the killing of one of Narathu's wives, who was a Princess of Pateikkaya. Another is that Narathu was killed by invaders from Sri Lanka.

Construction debris in the templeís interior

      The Dhammayangyi temple was never fully completed. Construction was probably halted right after the death of the King. Much of the temple's interior was filled with construction debris, including three of the four sanctums in the inner core and and most of the two corridors that run around the templeís central core.
      It is possible that the templeís interior was intentionally filled with debris by resentful workers because of Narathuís very harsh rule or possibly to prevent the ghost of King Narathu from leaving the temple.
      The brick work of the Dhammayangyi was done with great precision. The storey goes that King Narathu had the labourers killed or their hands chopped off if the work was not done perfectly.

Structure of the Dhammayangyi

      The sides at the base of the structure are almost 78 meters long, while the central core of the temple measures 25 meters long. There are four entrances that each contain a seated Buddha image on a pedestal, the main entrance is the Eastern one. The Western sanctum contains images of the Gautama Buddha and the future Maitreya Buddha, side by side.
      The sikhara, a tower like structure originating from North India, that was once on top of the Dhammayangyi has collapsed. The temple grounds are surrounded by a wall with huge arched gates that lead to the pagoda. To prevent further deterioration the terraces of the temple are closed to the public.


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