Bagan: Ancient Capital of Myanmar


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Shin Arahan Oakkyaung Monastery

Type of monument : Brick Monastery
Location : West of Hnget Pyit Taung Compound
Region : Nyaung U & Wetkyi-In
Built by : King Anawrahta
Date : 11th Century
Monument Number :

Shin Arahan, the most vulnerable monk of Bagan period, was a native of Thatone known as Suvannabhumi. His ordained name was Shin Dhammadasi. Having accomplished the learning of Tipitaka (the three books of Buddha’s teachings) and later on attained the Arahathood, he became to be well-known as Shin Arahan. During the year of A.D 1053, Shin Arahan came from Thatone to Bagan to carry out religious missionary work. He dwelt in a solitary hermitage in a glade not too far from Bagan.

When Shin Arahan, the most vulnerable monk from Thaton came to Bagan, King Anawrahta who had long been desirous of embracing the true Faith of Theravada Buddhism, was so delighted and he so revered the most vulnerable that he built a place for him. This monastery was built at a place called “Hnget Pyit Taung” where the monk could reside in peace and harmony. The monastery was a complex of a wooden building and a brick structure. The monastery had height of 21 feet, length of 85 feet, width of 56 feet. The wall forming the compound was 119 feet East-West and 117 feet North-South.


In front of the brick structure was a Dhamma Sala or a Preaching Hall. This preaching hall was built out of teak, with 24 main teak columns, posted on a brick platform, and embellished with ornate wood carvings. It has a two-tired roof and on both sides of the main hall, were shed-roofed annexes. In this Dhamma Sala, Shin Arahan preached the Teachings of Buddha to the audience. On the immediate back of the Dhamma Sala was the brick monastery or the Vihara, were Shin Arahan resided and meditated. There were two entrances connecting the Dhamma Sala and the Vihara. The hipped-roof of the Vihara was the typical style of the Bagan time.

Due to the weather, earthquake and time, the whole complex had fallen into ruins and had been in that state for several years. The complex was later reconstructed as the original model and maintained.



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