Dhammayangyi Temple, Bagan

The pyramid shaped Dhammayangyi Temple is the widest of the many temples in the Bagan Archaeological Park in Myanmar. The temple measures 78 metres on each side and has six levels each smaller than the one below thereby creating this pyramidal shape. To visit the Dhammayangyi Temple you need to buy a three day pass to the Bagan Archaeological Zone which currently costs 25,000 kyat (about $16), transport to travel between the temples in the park needs to be arranged and paid for separately.

About Dhammayangyi Temple

The construction date for the Dhammayangyi Temple, along with who commissioned the construction of the temple, is open to debate. The most likely theory is that the temple was constructed between 1167 and 1170 at the behest of King Narathu. King Narathu was one of the most despised rulers of the Pagan Empire (whose capital was Bagan) who had taken the throne by killing his own father, King Sithu I who was responsible for building of the Thatbyinnyu Temple, along with his elder brother who was next in line to inherit the throne. Karma caught up with King Narathu in 1170 when he himself was assassinated. So disliked was the man two sets of people claimed to have killed him. According to one account an Indian King, who was the father of the wife that King Narathu had executed, sent a team of soldiers disguised as Hindu priests to kill him. Another account has it that the ruler of Sri Lanka sent assassins to murder him. Either way, King Narathu ended up with the same violent death as had befallen his own father and his brother.

Dhammayangyi Temple in Bagan
Dhammayangyi Temple in Bagan

Following the death of King Narathu work on the Dhammayangyi Temple stopped and the temple was never finished. More than this, it appears that the workers decided to get their own revenge on King Narathu by bricking up the inner part of the temple and leaving large amount of building debris inside the temple. According to legend, King Narathu chopped the hands off any of the builders whose work was less than perfect, which may explain why the quality of the brickwork in the construction of the Dhammayangyi Temple is so much better than at most of the other temples in Bagan. Despite being unfinished, and partly inaccessible because of the bricking up of the inner section of the temple, its well worth a visit. As well as being able to view the outside of the temple, and the surrounding wall, some of the outer corridors of the temple are accessible as well as the porches of the four entrances. Inside each of the entrances is shrine, the most interesting of which is the shrine inside the Western entrance which features twin statues of the Gautama and Maitreya Buddhas. The Gautama Buddha is the famous Lord Buddha who born in 563 BC, and the Maitreya Buddha is the Buddha of future who was not yet been born.

Location Dhammayangyi Temple

  • Dhammayangyi Temple is 11.6 km from Bagan Railway Station.

Travel to Thatbyinnyu Temple

Dhammayangyi Temple is located near Bagan. For more information about travel to Bagan click on the links below:

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