Not far from Sulamani stands the biggest temple in Bagan, the Dhammayangyi Temple. Standing majestically like an ancient pyramid, Dhammayangyi was perhaps a statement of remorse from King Narathu, who killed his father and elder brother and executed one of his wives for Hindu rituals. He also ordered the mortar-less brickwork to be so precise that not even a pin could fit between two bricks. Failing to do so the brick workers would be cruelly punished with amputation. However, before the temple was completed, Narathu himself was also assassinated in 1170. Since then, Dhammayangyi remained unfinished.
Compared with Sulamani, the interior of Dhammayangyi seemed much less polished. Our guide told us that after the death of Narathu, the locals hastily bricked up the inner passages and didn’t put too much efforts to maintain the temple because of their revulsion toward cruel Narathu. As we passed through the bricked up passages while touring the structure, a sense of mystery still captivated our imagination on what really lie beyond the bricked passages. Another interesting feature at Dhammayangyi was the original side-by-side Buddha statues with Gautama and Maitreya (present and future Buddhas). On the outside, we could admire the fine carvings on the external walls and at arched openings, where visitors gathered to pose for photos.
Looking from a distance, Dhammayangyi looked similar to an ancient pyramid in the Yucatan jungle.
After we took off our shoes, we followed a green mat to enter the temple complex.
On our way, we passed by a few trees where vendors displayed dozens of local puppets.
We entered Dhammayangyi through a worship hall packed with local worshippers.
The Buddha image at the altar was once again gilded with gold.
Behind the altar, we entered the main passage of the temple.
The ceiling of the passage was high and dark. Supporting arches appeared from time to time to provide braces for the walls.
We passed by a number of bricked up passages that led to the unknown.
Buddhist statues were placed at some of the opened niches.
Statues varied in styles and facial features might have come from different periods in history.
With the constant flow of visitors, walking in the dark passages of Dhammayangyi was hardly a spooky experience.
Finally we reached the west shrine, featuring the original image of the double Buddhas on one side, and a reclining Buddha on the back.
The dual statues of Gautama and Maitreya Buddha at Dhammayangyi was a rarity in Bagan.
At the exterior, local visitors enjoyed themselves at the arched openings.
Some of external ornaments and arched openings had become desirable backdrops for photo shooting.
We exited the complex from where we arrived.
Vending trucks selling fresh juices could be found all over the entrance parking lot.
A number of vendors gathered under a tree shade as Bagan braced for a scorching afternoon.
* * *
Blog posts on Myanmar 2017:
Day 1: Yangon, Myanmar
DAY 1: INTRODUCTION OF A SHORT BURMESE CHRISTMAS VACATION
DAY 1: WALK TO 999 SHAN NOODLE HOUSE
DAY 1: SULE PAGODA
DAY 1: COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE
DAY 1: BUSTLING STREET LIFE
DAY 1: GOLDEN WORLD OF SHWEDAGON PAGODA
DAY 1: A PLACE FOR PEOPLE, Shwedagon Pagoda
DAY 1: EVENING MAGIC OF THE GOLDEN SHWEDAGON PAGODA
DAY 1: A FESTIVE NIGHT
Day 3: Bagan
DAY 3: MAGICAL SUNRISE, Old Bagan
DAY 3: NYAUNG-U MARKET, Nyaung-U
DAY 3: SULAMANI TEMPLE
DAY 3: DHAMMAYANGYI TEMPLE
DAY 3: THATBYINNYU TEMPLE
DAY 3: NAPAYA, MANUHA AND GUBYAUKGYI, Myinkaba
DAY 3: SUNSET No. 2, Old Bagan
DAY 3: FINAL NIGHT IN NYAUNG-U
Day 4: Farewell Myanmar
DAY 4: FAREWELL BAGAN FAREWELL MYANMAR