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Bagan: Ancient Capital of Myanmar

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Manuha Temple

Type of monument : Type III Temple
Location : Northeast of Nanpaya
Region : Myinkaba
Built by : King Manuha
Date : A.D 1059
Monument Number :
Photo Gallery : View 7 Photos

The name "Manuha" was given after the Mon king from Thaton who was held captive in Bagan by King Anawrahta. Legend says that Manuha was allowed to build this temple in 1059, and that he constructed it to represent his displeasure at captivity. The exterior and overall floor plan resemble the more remote Kyauk Gu Ohnmin, a rectangular box topped by a smaller rectangle. Inside three seated Buddhas face the front of the building, and in the back there's a huge reclining Parinibbana Buddha. All seem too large for their enclosures, and their cramped, uncomfortable positions are said to represent the stress and lack of comfort the 'captive king' had to endure. However, these features are not unique in Bagan.It is said that only the reclining Buddha, in the act of entering nibbana, has a smile on its face, showing that for Manuha only death was a release from his suffering.

One can climb to the top of this pagoda via the stairs at the entrance to the reclining Buddha chamber, at the back of the temple. Through a window you can then see the face of the sitting Buddha, and from up at this level you'll realize that the gigantic face, so grim from below, has an equally gigantic smile. During the earthquake of 1975, the central roof collapsed, badly damaging the largest, seated Buddha, which has since been repaired.

An outdoor corner of the temple compound is dedicated to Mt Popa's presiding nats, Mae Wunna and her sons Min Lay and Min Gyi. Devotees of Manuha Paya celebrate a large paya pwe (or pagoda festival) on the full moon of Tabaung (which falls between February an March, depending on the Lunar Calendar).

A short path leads past two recent statues of King Manuha and his wife, Queen Ningala Devi to Nagayone.

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