Manuha Temple in Bagan

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Manuha temple is one of the oldest temples of Bagan. It is named after Manuha, King of a Mon Kingdom named Thaton located in lower Burma. Manuha built the temple in 1067, after having spend a decade in captivity in Bagan.

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Overview

The temple enshrines four large gold painted images of the Buddha, each contained within a separate room, barely large enough to accommodate the images. The front of the temple consists of three rooms, each containing a seated image. The central image measuring 46 feet high is in the “Calling the Earth to witness” posture. It is flanked by two smaller images each 33 feet high. The back of the building consists of a single room, that contains a 90 feet long reclining Buddha image wearing a serene facial expression. To this day, the Manuha temple is an active place of worship for Burmese Buddhists.

Statue in the temple

Structure

The Manuha temple is a rectangular, whitewashed building. The top storey which is much smaller than the lower one is topped with a large multi tiered hti, a spire shaped like a ceremonial umbrella. The edges of both first and second storey are adorned with several smaller hti’s.

The building is oriented towards the East. At the center is a portico with the main entrance protruding out of the structure leading to the room that contains the largest sitting Buddha image. Two smaller entrances on either side of the portico lead to the rooms enshrining the smaller images. A number of narrow steps and a narrow door lead towards the room of the reclining Buddha in the back of the structure. Near the back is a stairway to the top of the temple; a window allows a view of one of the huge seated images from above. During the 1975 earthquake part of the roof collapsed damaging the central image, which has been restored since.

Manuha temple is one of the oldest temples of Bagan

Other structure on the grounds

A recent Burmese style building next to the temple contains statues of King Manuha and his Queen as well as an enormous alms bowl with a ladder in front of it. On a pole next to the temple rests a legendary Hamsa bird.

A section of a hall contains very colorful images of three of Burma’s most venerated Nats, Mai Wunna and her two sons, who live on Mount Popa, about 50 kilometers from Bagan. The Nats are ancient spirits that have been worshipped in Burma even before the arrival of Buddhism. Near the temple is a small chedi topped with a hti.

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