Shwegugyi, Gawdawpalin , Nathlaung Kyaung & Bupaya Pagoda @ Bagan, Myanmar Day 3

Posted: February 3, 2013 in Sights
Tags: , , , , ,

After a hearty lunch, we, I mean Osaka trotted to the next destination – Shwegugyi Temple.

Before climbing a flight of stairs leading  to the gate of the temple- we came to  a stone slab depicting the history of Shwegugyi Temple in both English and Burmese. The temple was built by King Alaungsithu in 1131 AD. The name Shwegugyi means ‘the golden cave’P1010584

On our left , we saw brick foundations and pits – this looked like an excavation site- but from a web search- this seemed to be the what was left of the former royal palace which was made from wood. Which explain why Shwegugyi is also known as ‘Nandow Oo Paya’ which mean the pagoda in front of the palace.P1010586

Along the steps, there were souvenirs stalls and in front of the temple gate there was a stall selling sand paintingP1010606

One of the figures at the entranceP1010588

Shwegugyi was said to be built within a period of 7 months and 7 days. One of Buddha image inside the main entrance of the templeP1010590

Another Buddha image at the passageways, the ‘effect’ of plastering of gold leaf was evident on the statueP1010592

You probably could see it more clearly with this close upP1010594

Shwegugyi is one of the few temples in Bagan where we could explore the upper floors of the temple- Yayy…we could see Thatbyinnyu temple from one of the windowsP1010596

Stairways to heaven ?P1010597

The top of the central block were adorned by stupas. These hallow stupas make  a good temporaly hideaway for us  from the hot Myanmar sunP1010598

Part of the crewIMG_3395

Is the sky bluer in Bagan ?P1010605

We got a good view of the temples of Bagan from the top of the temple. On the top left is Dhammayangyi- it was  evident from our view that it is the largest temple in Bagan !DSCN0001_2

W.Hoong requested that we view an Hindu temple for a change. We had expected the structure to be very different from the Buddhist temple- but the red bricked Nathlaung Kyaung temple looked just like the other Buddhist temples in Bagan. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the structure- you can have a look by clicking here

Extracted from http://www.ancientbagan.com/nathlaungkyaung-temple.htm : Nathlaung Kyaung means ‘Shrine Confining Nats or Spirits’, a reference to a purported time when King Anawratha tried to banish Nat worship in Bagan. He is said to have confiscated all non-Buddhist religious images including indigenous Myanmar nats and Hindu devas. Then he ordered to have placed them in this shrine as part of an effort to establish ‘pure’ Theravada Buddhism during his reign. The king eventually gave in to the cult and standardized the current roster of principal Burmese Nats by placing 37 chosen images at Shwezigon Pagoda. This is the only Hindu temple remaining in Bagan. It is said to have been built in 931 by King Taunghthugyi, more than a century before Theravada Buddhism came to Bagan, following the conquest of Thaton. In design it resembles the Pyu Leimyethna or four-sided shrines of Sri Keshtra.

An image of Lord Vishnu inside the temple.P1010610

At the time of our visit, restoration work by UNESCO was taking place at the temple.  Below is another image at the templeP1010608

From the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, we moved on to Gawdawpalin temple. On how do we decide which temple to see, what we did was -the day before, we did some reading from the guidebooks, printouts and also referring to a Bagan map- then discuss amongst the team what we would like to see or any special request or no opinion and do anything also can. Then before starting our trip for the day we would mention to our horse cart drivers what we would like to see ( or what we do not want to see) and then leave it to them to organize.

Back to Gawdawpalin …After walking passed the main gateway, we came to many shops along the walkway, the shops were selling things like sunglasses, perfumes and other ‘modern goods’. I am not sure are the target customers the locals or the foreign tourists ..P1010614

Gawdawpalin temple was built by King Narapatisithu –  the same King that built Sulamani temple.  But King Narapatisithu did not see the completion of the temple , his son Htilominlo completed the building of the temple in 1127. The temple is located at the bank of the Ayeryarwaddy River. In the picture below is one of the  Buddha image inside the templeP1010624

A closer look at one of the seated  ‘guardians’ . Cute !P1010629

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And last but not least a very different looking BuddhaP1010631

The temple had a very large compound and we spent a bit of time walking the grounds of the temple. The temple has two storeys and reaching a height of 180 feet, making it the second tallest temple in Bagan. Gawdawpalin was badly damaged by the 1975 earthquake and was reconstructed in the following years.P1010615

The guidebooks mentioned that Gawdawpalin Temple has three lower terraces and four upper terraces , and we spent quite sometime to confirm this because at certain angles the terraces are hidden and we couldn’t count the figures mentioned in the guidebook. This gave us more time to look at the structure and appreciate the beauty of Gawdawpalin.P1010623

Next, we headed towards the Ayeyarwady River and came to Bupaya Pagoda.P1010633

I was looking forward to have a look at Bupaya pagoda because the pumpkin or guord shaped ( Bu) temple would be different from the other temples that we have seen..but sayang loorrr..the temple was undergoing reconstruction and was covered in attap mats.. Bupaya had been rebuilt after original Pagoda was totally wrecked by the 1975 earthquake.P1010635

The shrine hallP1010642

This was the  first time in Bagan that I saw a Buddha image made from marbleP1010638

A view of the Ayeyarwady  the boats are for charter to view the sunsetP1010639

We were running late to catch the sunset ..and Osaka had probably suffered more whippings to speed him/her up. The other horse carts making their way to the lookout point to view the sunsetP1010643

Run Osaka run….P1010644

The lookout point..and the first time I saw such a large collection of tourist, there were a lot of stairs to climb..P1010645

The novices and their mentor are here to view the sunset too

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The setting sun and the stupas made an interesting view..P1010649

The ‘salted egg yoke’P1010656

After viewing the sunset , it was a steep climb down to mortal groundsP1010691

Not too soon..it was dinner time, we decided to try out Mann Sa Bai, which was a few minutes walk from our guest house ( the picture below was taken during daytime)P1010704The menu

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I ordered steam rice with vegetable for 800K . Steamed rice with meat cost 1500K. there were plenty of vegetables plus tofu. This was not too bad, only complain was the portion was rather big lorrrDSCN0014

AhPheng had fried vermicelli with vegetable for 800KDSCN0015

W.Hoong must be feeling hungry for he ordered the Myanmar buffet. There were some really spicy sauces with the buffetDSCN0009

After our meal, we were provided with desserts- thin palm sugar slices delicately wrapped in papers…these were slightly sourish and very nice..we finished the whole plate of palm sugar within a few minutes..somebody please stop us..DSCN0017

With our tummies filled with palm sugar..thus end our third day in beautiful Myanmar..

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