Lawka Nanda Pagoda

Lawka Nanda Pagoda

New Bagan
11the Century
Monument No.


The architectural design of the Lawkananda Pagoda bespeaks some indication of the transition between old Pyu and the newer Bagan style.

The distinctive feature of the pagoda is its elongated, bell-shaped dome, and its situation on an octagonal base of three receding tiers. The lower two tiers are fitted with flights of steps on three sides. The bell-shaped dome is a simple, cylindrical dome with no decorative designs. The concentric rings on the top of the dome are adorned with intricate flower motifs. The pagoda is topped with a multi-tiered, gilded umbrella, called hti, adorned with jewels.

The chamber where the Buddha Tooth relic is enshrined is not accessible. In the past, the solid brick pagoda was white, however, it has recently been gilded.


Lawka Nanda Pagoda is one of four pagodas, each of which enshrines a replica of the Buddha Tooth Relic. The Pali words, “Lawka Nanda” mean "Joy to the World".

According to tradition, it was built by King Anawrahta during his reign in 1059. It is situated in the southwest of Thiripyitsaya, on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. King Anawrahta received a replica of the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha from the King of Sri Lanka. According to ancient chronicles, the King himself had carried the Sacred Tooth on his head while he waded in the deep water in conveying it for enshrinement.

He then put the Sacred Tooth on the back of a white elephant and let it set free. The pagoda would be built where the elephant stopped and knelt. Bearing the Sacred Tooth, the elephant roamed until it reached the place where the Shwezigone Pagoda currently stands. Miraculously, a second Tooth appeared. This time, the elephant stopped and knelt on the hill top near Bagan jetty. This was the spot the Lawka Nanda pagoda, which enshrines the Sacred Tooth relic, was built.


On the platform next to the pagoda, a large wooden drum and statues of two men carrying a bell can be seen. A seated Myanmar-style Buddha image also exists in a structure next to the pagoda.

In the eastern prayer hall, there is a Buddha statue sculpted out of a monolithic sandstone. It bears the gesture of jhana mudra (in a state of deep mental concentration) and is almost two meters high. At the back of the eastern prayer hall, there are two inscribed stone pillars which say ‘Lawka Nanda’ is the original name of the Bagan period.


The Lawka Nanda Pagoda festival is held in the middle of the rainy season late July - early August - depending on the lunar calendar. At that time, the pagoda is crowded with devotees, as well as tourists.
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