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Bagan: Ancient Capital of Myanmar

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Sulamani Temple

Type of monument : Type II Temple (Kundaung Pauk Gu)
Location : About a mile east of Bagan
Region : Minnanthu
Built by : Narapatisithu
Date : A.D 1183
Monument Number : 748
Photo Gallery : View 10 Photos

Sulamani was built in 1181 by Narapatisithu (1174-1211). This temple was known as "crowing jewel" and it stands beyond Dhammayangyi Pagoda. This temple is a more sophisticated temple than the Htilominlo and Gawdawpalin.

Combining the horizontal planes of the early period with the vertical lines of the middle, the temple features two storeys standing on broad terraces assembled to create a pyramid effect. The brickwork throughout is considered some of the best in Bagan. Some part of the temple was damaged during 1975 by the earthquake. Pagodas stand at the corners of each terrace, and a high wall, fitted with elaborate gateways at each cardinal point, encloses the entire complex. The interior face of the wall was once lined with a hundred monastic cells, a feature unique among Bagan's ancient monasteries.

 

Sulamani represents some of Bagan's finest ornamental work which are carved stucco on mouldings, pediments and pilasters. These are today in fairly good condition. Glazed plaques around the base and terraces are also still visible.

Buddha images face the four directions from the ground floor; the image at the main eastern entrance sits in a recess built into the wall. The interior passage around the base is painted with fine frescoes from the Konbaung period, and there are traces of earlier frescoes. Stairways lead very close to the top of this temple, from where the views are superb.

In the north of the compound contains the remains of Sulamani Kyaung, a monastery building that housed Sulamani's senior monk and the Tripitaka (the Buddhist scriptures), which is walled enclosed. It may also have served as an ordination hall. A water tank in the compound is thought to be the only original Bagan reservoir.

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