The Dhammayangyi temple stands magnificently among Bagan’s time and space. Although the temple has not been completed, it contains a lot of mysteries – and these mysteries have attracted a large number of tourists to Myanmar.
Today, the Burmese archaeology has listed more than 2,000 temple ruins within 42 km2. These are not only valuable works for international visitors but also a place to study the history of cultural, social and political development related to Buddhism and the country. One of them is the largest temple in Bagan, although this work was abandoned after three years of implementation – Dhammayangyi.
It is said that, when arriving in Bagan, if you want to see the grace, let’s go to Ananda temple. If you want to see the greatness, go to Thatbyinniu temple, and if you want to see the majesty, visit Dhammayangyi Temple.
The Dhammayangyi temple of the ancient Bagan temple complex is famous for its massive pyramid shape, dominating other buildings. And this pyramid model is completely different from the traditional temples of Burmese Buddhism, usually stupa with tower soaring in the sky. To this day, the Burmese have yet to explain why Narathu chose this type of architecture.
Built by King Narathu in 1170, the Dhammayangyi Temple has a six-storey pyramid. However, Dhammayangyi still has the popular tetrahedral architecture in Myanmar temples with four doors turning in four directions. For interiors, the temple has a double corridor system running parallel to the central temple pillar. Many of the small brick windows pick up the light from the four corners of the hallway that surround the temple.The tiles that make up the dome system on the corridors around the temple prove that the skill of ancient people was great. Each temple’s main door is beautiful with the giant statues of Buddha with different designs, all are gilded or or painted in different colour. On the wall of the corridor around the temple, there are many niches, pedestal to place other smaller Buddha statues.
The temple is 78 m wide, while the central core of the temple up to 25 m, connected by a large corridor with dome and door systems.
According to some documents in Bagan, although never completed, the Dhammayangyi Temple cost an estimated 6 million bricks, not to mention the stone system that forms the basis of this monumental work.
Perhaps, King Narathu could not have imagined that this great construction which promising many surprises would never be complete. Three years after wearing the crown, he was murdered. The work was also stopped and then abandoned. However, this is still a unique representation of the ancient Bagan population as well as the history of the tower system development in this area.
Legend has it that King Narathu killed his father and brother to occupy the throne. Nevertheless, after wearing the crown, perhaps because of fear of creating bad karma, he built temples for the Buddha to feel peaceful in mind. Among them, in a special temple, there were two statues that carved in the appearance of his father and brother. Howeverm there are books explaining that, these are two Buddha: Buddha Shakyamuni and Maitreya. The Burmese people are told that Narathu King was very harsh and he was willing to cut any hands if the temple construction work is not perfect. The bricks must be tight that a pin is impossible to be placed in.=
When excavating the temple, archaeologists discovered that, the bricks were filled in the corridors were identical with the brick used to build the temple. That’s why it is believed that the workers threw the mortar into the temple because of their anger to Narathu. Many people think that, the slaves wanted to block the spirit of the king forever inside the temple to avenge the suffering he has caused.
If you once set foot on the cool corridor, silently walk around the temple, you will understand why the greatness and mystery of Dhammayangyi for hundreds of years still attracts people although it never be a completed construction .