Thatbyinnyu Temple

Type
Temple
Location
Old Bagan
Built
12th Century
Monument No.
1597

Architecture

Towering over the other monuments of Bagan, it stands within the city walls, some 500 yards to the southwest of the Ananda. Thatbyinnyu is one of the first two-story structures in Bagan. It rises to a height of 201 feet above the ground and thus is visible from much of the Bagan plains.

The eastern porch alone protrudes considerably from the wall of the main building. The plan of the Thatbyinnyu is not unlike that of the Ananda-square, with porticoes on all four sides, but the eastern portico projects further than the others, breaking the symmetry.

It has two main floors and the Buddha image is seated on the upper floor. The central is guarded by two standing figures of guardians facing the eastern hall and entrance.

The steps lead to a circumambulatory corridor around the central mass. At the top of one pair of stairs, built in the thickness of the walls, is the top of the vestibule from where an external flight of stairs leads to the upper-story. The high cubicles, the corner stupas on the terraces, the flamboyant arch-pediments and the plain pilasters combine to give a soaring effect to the monument.

The two tiers of windows in each story make the interior bright and airy, but the walls are bare and the recesses along the plinth and terraces do not contain any glazed plaques.

The terraces of the Thatbyinnyu are closed to the public to prevent further erosion to the structure.

History

According to the Chronicle, this majestic temple was built by King Alaungsithu around the middle of the 12th century A.D., and its title signifies "Omniscience", one of the attributes of Buddha.

WITHIN THE TEMPLE GROUNDS

To the northeast of the Thatbyinnyu is a small temple, called the tally pagoda. Apparently, during construction of the large Thatbyinnyu, one brick was laid aside for every 10,000 bricks used to keep count of the number of bricks used. The tally pagoda was constructed after completion of the Thatbyinnyu with the bricks that were laid aside.

To the southeast of the temple, in a monastery compound close by, stand two tall stone pillars built to support a huge bronze bell donated by the builder of the temple, King Alaungsithu. The pillars have foliations in the pattern of an inverted V carved in relief.

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