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’
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.
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.
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 ..
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 temple
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.
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.
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.
The novices and their mentor are here to view the sunset too
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..
With our tummies filled with palm sugar..thus end our third day in beautiful Myanmar..