|Type of monument
||: Type II Temple
||: East of Gadawtpalin Temple
||: Nyaung U & Wetkyi-In
||: King Alaungsithu
||: 11th Century
||: View 16 Photos
Towering above the other monuments of Bagan,
the magnificence in white which is the Thatbyinnyu takes its
name from the Omniscience of the Buddha. Thatbyinnyutanyan in
Myanmar language, Sabbannutanana in Pali, omniscience is given
further explanation in contemporary inscriptions as "knowing
thoroughly and seeing widely."
Built by King Alaungsithu (1113-1163), the
Thatbyinnyu is a transitional temple, standing between the Early
Style of the Ananda, half a mile to the northeast, and the Late
Style of the Gawdawpalin, half a mile to the northwest. It is
one of the earliest double-storeyed temples, but the arrangement
is different from that of later double-storeyed temples, much as
if it were still an experiment in the new form.
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. This plan is followed in such later temples as the
Sulamani and the Gawdawpalin.
Three receding terraces rise above each
storey, ornamented with crenellated parapets and corner stupas.
Above the terraces of the upper storey rises a curvilinear
spire, surmounted by a slim, tapering stupa which takes the
temple up to a height of 201 feet. The great height of the
temple and the vertical lines of the ornamental features-the
plain pilasters, the flame-like arch pediments, the corner
stupas-give a soaring effect to the Thatbyinnyu.
The eastern portico has a central stairway
guarded by two standing door-guardians. The stairway leads to an
intermediate storey where a corridor runs around the central
mass. Two tiers of windows along the walls make the interior
bright and airy, but the walls are bare of painting except for
some traces in the western portico.
Two stairs built into the thickness of the
walls provide access to the terrace above the eastern portico,
from where an external flight of stairs leads to the upper
storey. Here, a huge image of the Buddha is seated on a masonry
throne. A further flight of narrow stairs built into the
thickness of the walls leads to the terraces above the upper
The terraces of the Thatbyinnyu provide a
good panoramic view of Bagan- of the green and brown landscape,
the innumerable monuments, the broad Ayeyarwaddy river, and the
distant hills to the east and west.
To the southwest of the Thatbyinnyu, in a
monastery compound, are two tall stone pillars with foliations
in an inverted V pattern. They were the supports for a huge
bronze bell of which the chronicles say:
"King Alaungsithu offered two great bells,
one at the Thatbyinnyu and one at the Shwegugyi. They were cast
of pure copper, 10,000 adula in weight, larger by far and nobler
than the five great bells offered by his grandfather, King
To the northeast of the Thatbyinnyu is the
small gayocho or "tally" temple. To keep count of the bricks in
the building of the Thatbyinnyu, one brick was set aside for
every 10,000 used, and this small temple was built with the
bricks thus set aside.