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Why Shwegu Gyi Temple is special ?
The Shwegugyi temple and the nearby ruins of the former royal palace form an interesting just a position of Bagan sites. According to a contemporary Pali inscription on stone slabs in the building the temple was built in 7 1/2 months in 1131 AD under orders from King Sithu I. Located just to the north of Thatbyinnyu, the Shwegugyi is a large single story temple set on a large and tall (c. 13 feet) platform. There are three square receding upper terraces with corner spires or stupas at each corner on top of the central block.
The temple is reflective of a slow change in architectural style to a lighter, airier and more decorated form with a stress on the vertical and reminds one of the transition between the Romanesque and Gothic styles in European cathedral architecture. There is an entry hall on the north side, and a barrel-vaulted shrine room in the central block. The distinctive corncob sikhara is tall and slender and emphasizes the verticality of the entire structure.
What to explore at Shwegu Gyi Temple?
A bright interior is created through the use of broad ambulatory corridors and eleven open arched windows. The temple is also famous for its fine stucco and carved wooden doors in the interior, although unfortunately I have no images of these to share. Perhaps this can be used to justify a return to this area.
Just to the northwest of Shwegugyi are the brick foundations and post pits that are apparently the ruins of the former royal palace begun by King Kyanzittha (1084-1113) and added to over the next few centuries. The original palace buildings were made of wood and are no longer extant, but it was a large and multi-faceted structure.
How to get to Shwegu Gyi Temple?
Shwegu Gyi Phaya is located in Old Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). It takes more than 15 minutes driving from Nyaung U airport. Taxi and horse cart driver can take you there.
- Spectacular sunset.
- A gem for its views
- Fabulous View of Bagan Temples
- Nice outlook from the top
- More like a cave
Old Bagan Myanmar (Burma)
First, the temple itself is quite lovely with it's own walled courtyard and a perfect location that enables you to see many of the other nearby temples and pagodas that encircle it. You really do feel like you're in the heart of things. Some great shots to be taken. The inside is in realtively good shape and of interest. The second reason is two lovely girls working there who we met. They were selling souvenirs and postcards, but after chatting with them for a few minutes it was clear they knew the local area well and so they turned into our Old Bagan guides for the day. They gave us a delightful 4/5 hour circular type walking tour of some nine other sights within the Old Bagan city. They knew it like the back of their hand and it made all the difference. Thier names are Kin San Hliang (11 years old, short hair, a cheeky face! who sells postcards) and Tin Zar Lin (19 who sells lacquerware - second stall literally as you arrive) and who goes by the name Zar Zar. We lucked out with these two and frankly I can't think of a better way to see the old city area and learn about real life as it is today in Bagan. Their English is very good and their humour charming. Well worth a good tip - I'd suggest US$3 or 4 each per hour and lunch/cold drinks. And buy from them. Tell them Nigel sent you. You won't be disappointed.