Discover Thatbyinnyu Temple - Bagan
Thatbyinnyu Temple is derives its name from the phrase “Omniscience of Buddha” and is aptly named as such. As it towers over the other temples in Bagan, this majestic pagoda is clearly visible across the picturesque landscape. It strikes a very imposing figure across the plains as this 66 meter tall temple distinguishes itself as the tallest structure among the other temples and holy sites here.
Built by King Alaungsithu in the middle of the 15th century, this double story structure began a trend of construction styles that make use of multiple stories and non-symmetrical designs. It is because of its size and its unique design that makes Thatbyinnyu Temple an interesting tourist spot to explore. If you’re interested in ancient architecture, then you will definitely enjoy looking at the innovative construction this temple has to offer.
Unfortunately, not every area of the temple is open to the general public. The earthquake that hit it in 1975 caused significant damage to the structure. This resulted in the closing of the upper terraces to visitors to avoid further erosion to the building’s bricks. There are many long corridors in its interiors that are still available for exploring though. There are also many interesting sights inside the temple like the ornate entrance arches, as well as the many images of seated Buddhas found along the corridors. The outer area also has what they call a tally pagoda, which is a small temple comprised of bricks that are used to tally the number of total bricks used for the main Thatbyinnyu temple, with one brick laid outside for every ten thousand used inside.
Since Thatbyinnyu Temple is within the Bagan Archaeological Site, it is very easy to locate and to visit. It is located in the southeastern corner of the Old Bagan city wall. You can get their by renting either a private vehicle (for around 50 to 60 USD a day) or even a bicycle (for 1 USD a day). A fun way to get around is also by ox cart (for 15 to 20 USD a day), where driver is usually knowledgeable with the location of every temple in the area. In any case, try to visit the temple when it is still early since it can get a bit crowded by midday when there are more worshippers and tourists around.