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Tamote Shinpin Shwegugyi Temple
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Good Time To Visit: The Whole Year
Visited: 1562 Time

Tamote Shinpin Shwegugyi (Ta Mok Shwe-gu-gyi) Temple

      Tamote Shinpin Shwegugyi Temple is located by the road side of Tada Oo, 6 miles (10km) north of Kyaukse in Mandalay Region. The temple hidden inside the hill is recently discovered by the locals. The first one-storey temple was built by King Anawrahta in the 11th century and the second-storey added by King Narapatisithu in 12th century. In the 14th century, King Uzana encased the whole temple inside a huge stupa. All of this was further hidden and protected by time and nature. Masonry work, flora and mythical creature motifs are similar to those found in Bagan temples. There is an image of three enclosed Buddha of Bagan era. There are also some wall paintings in the tunnels. Two additional monasteries are located north and south of the old khayaing wall. To the north, on a road linking the village of Kyaung pan kon and Nyaung bin zauk, is the Ta Mok Taw Ya Kyaung.

      Outside the southern khayaing fort wall is the small Shwe-mutaw stupa, with additional stupas exposed adjacent to this by construction for a gas pipeline. Close by, near the village of Ngeh-to is the Ngwe Twin Tu: Taw Ya, “silver well forest-monastery” with a damaged stone slab donated by the three “Shan” brothers while they were myosa or governors that mentions completion of donations to the ancient garden of Ta Mokin AD 1319.

      The two-story Bagan Ta Mok temple was encased with a stupa begun in the reign of Pinya King Ussana and completed in the ADAD 1355–1362 reign of Hsin-phyuu-thakin Kyaw-swa-min-gyi. Ussana donated five fields, two male and two female temple slaves, and together with his Chief Queen made a royal pilgrimage from Inwa to Ta Mok Shwe-gu-gyi in a Pyi-gyi-kyet-thwa barge mentioned in the ADAD 1356 inscription stone erected to commemorate the visit.

      While the shape of the barge is not noted, royal craft were often constructed in the shape of auspicious animals such as the mythical karaweik bird or a double bodied naga and standing galon (garuda) (Htun Yi 1984). By ADAD 1915 the condition of the stupa had deteriorated, although U San Htwa donated a 6m high stupa [Fig. 12.3]. In 1993, Ashin Sandawbatha, native to Ngeh-to village, came to settle at Ta Mok, and while meditating inside an opening on the north side of the ruined 14th century Shwe-gu-gyi stupa, noticed layers of brick in the small cell. Word reached Win Maung (Tampawaddy), who visited the site in 1993 and has been working on the temple up to the present in collaboration with Ashin Sandawbatha.

      In 2008, the Department of Archaeology gave permission to dismantle the 14th century stupa, and by 2010 a two-story north-facing temple covered in stucco had been unearthed. This and other structures at Ta Mok are dated here on stylistic grounds including the brickwork, arches, images of the Buddha and thrones and decoration.

      In addition to the small gu, two-story temple, stupa and thein, a number of other structures have been unearthed in the Ta Mok Shwe-gu-gyi compound. South of the thein on the west side described above, excavation in 2010–11 has unearthed the square brick foundations of a wooden zayat. The undated structure has two enclosures, an inner, probably earlier, one and a second outer enclosure with four staircases, one on each side.

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