MRAUK U

Mrauk - U was once the capital of the once powerful Rakhine Kings the archaelogical remains in Rakhine (Arakan), as we now see them, date chiefly from the 15th and 16th centuries. It stands at Aung Dat creak about 50 miles (80 Km) from the mouth of Kaladan River where modern capital Sittwe lies. One can get to Mrauk- U by a government fermy boat or by hiring a chartered boat which will take 5 to 6 hours voyage from Sittwe. Andaw Thein Pagoda Andaw Thein Pagoda, (meaning the tooth relic of Buddha) was built by King Min Hla Raza in 1,521 to enshrine a tooth relic brought from Sri Lanka by King Minbin. The pagoda is situated near the Shitthaung Temple. Like other pagodas and temples it is on a small hillock. The shrine is a hollow octagonal structure made of pure sand stone blocks. There are two internal concentric passages and a prayer hall on the east. Fifteen small circular pagodas, built of bricks stand on the platforms of south, north and west. This eight sided temple has small windows like the Shitthaung Temple which admit light and ventilation. In the innermost core, an eight-sided pillar supports the roof. We can still observe its unique stone carvings and floral designs. Shitthaung Pagoda The Shitthaung or "temple of the 80,000 Buddhas" is located about half a mile to the north of the palace site. It was constructed in commemoration of the successful defense against Portuguese attack in 1,535 by King Minbin, one of the most powerful Kings of the Mrauk U Dynasty. The most impressive feature of the massive Shitthaung Temple is that it houses 80,000 Buddhas Images. Its interior walls are engraved with over 1,000 Buddhist figures. The skill and art displayed in its construction and ornamentation seen today are remarkable. We can observe the unique maze-like layout plan of the temple. Due to this curious plan of the temple, some foreigners remarked that the Temple was built alike a fortress. It was constructed like rock cave tunnel by using 6 feet thick solid sand stones. Amazingly, the stones were connected with stone brackets using no mortar at all. Koethaung Pagoda Standing on a plain of rice fields is the Koethaung Pagoda; the name means 90,000 and probably signified the number of Buddha images it was supposed to contain. It was built by King Min Taikkha, the son of King Min Bin who built the Shitthaung or temple of 80,000 images, so the son exceeded the father by 10,000! It is the biggest pagoda in the Mrauk-U area. Like the Shitthaung, this pagoda is also a massive fortress-like structure built with stone walls and terraces. There are 108 smaller pagodas surrounding it, all made of sandstone. With a winding corridor it is like a cave tunnel which you have to traverse until you reach the central chamber. The inner gallery has collapsed and is no longer accessible. There is an octagonal pagoda in the middle surrounded by over one hundred smaller pagodas. Unlike some of the other temples, not only sandstone, but bricks were also used in this pagoda. Dukkanthein Dukkanthein standing on a hillock 100 metres to the north west of Shitthaung Temple was constructed by King Min Phalaung in 1,571. It was once used as an Ordination Hall but now it is one of the well-known pagodas in Mrauk U. Dukkanthein includes simple dome-shaped stupas, which stand atop receding terraces over a large sanctuary and two stone stairways on the east and south. There is a long vaulted passageway, which leads to the central shrine. There we can observe two cloisters which house 146 niches with Buddha Images and sandstone relief depicting 64 different types of ancient hairstyles. Before visiting any other place in Mrauk U, priority should be given to the ruins of the inner palace city where the Royal palace once stood magnificently. The palace is surrounded by three wall encirclement. When Mong Saw Mon started buildings the palace, underground canals were first dug, then stone walls were erected and finally the three hills were leveled down. Some of the canals that carried off the water to the Thinghanadi creek to the south of the palace can still be found. The area of the whole palace was 1.2 square miles and the walls were originally made of brick. King Mong Ba Gree reinforced the palace walls with a new structure of stone in 1,531. The high of the walls to day averages 12ft and thickness runs about 7ft. Three sites of the palace are guarded with moats. Pitakataik which lies close to Htupayon Pagoda and south of Shinkite wall was built by King Mong Phalaung. It was square in plan with an entrance passage to the east like others pagoda in Mrauk U. Built entirely with stone; the outer walls are decorated with ornate floral and geometric design. It is said that there were 33 Pitakataiks, built in Mrauk U. The little library or Pitaka-taik, the Repository for the Buddhist scriptures was built in 1591 also by King Min Phalaung. It measures only 14 feet from east to west, 10 feet from north to south and is only 9 feet in height. Built entirely of stone there are lovely designs on the outer walls making it look like a tiny jeweled casket shaped like a blooming lotus.

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