Bupaya Pagoda (1657/ 961) (ဗူး ဘုရား)

Type of monument Type I Temple (Bulbous dome)
Location On the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy River
Region Old Bagan
Built by King Pyusawhti
Date A D 162
Monument Number 1657/ 961
Bupaya Pagoda (ဗူး ဘုရား)
Perched high on a bluff on a curve of the Ayeyarwady, the small, white Bupaya serves as a landmark for travellers along the river. It was destroyed in the earthquake of 1975, but the pagoda has been reconstructed in the shape and size of the original.
The pagoda has a bulbous dome rather similar to that of the Ngakywenadaung. The dome is surmounted by a bold, convex band and crowned by a tapering finial and hti (umbrella).
The Bupaya takes its name from the bu or gourd, and tradition connects the pagoda to the legend of Pyusawhti. According to the legend, Bagan, in the reign of its first king Thamoddarit, was ravaged by the Five Great Menaces: the Tiger, the Flying Squirrel, the Boar, the Bird and the Gourd Plant. The Gourd Plant had vines which spread out all over the land, vines which were so strong and tenacious that, when cut in the night, they sprouted in the morning, fresh and vigorous as ever. To the land of Bagan thus ravaged came Pyusawhti, born of the Sun line of kings, versed in the eighteen arts that kings should know, and bearing a magic bow. With his bow, Pyusawhti quelled the Five Great Menaces and gained the hand of the King’s daughter. When in time Pyusawhti became king, he built pagodas at each of the places where he had quelled the Five Great Menaces. And thus, Pyusawhti came to build the Bupaya, in the shape of a gourd, where he had quelled the Gourd Plant.
A number of other topo graphical features and monuments of Bagan have been related to the legend of Pyusawhti. Among these are the Thamiwhet Umin, “Tunnel Where the Damsels Were Hidden”, the place where Pyusawhti hid the damsels who were to be offered to the Bird, and Hmyatha Umin, “Tunnel Where the Arrow Shafts Were Smoothed”, the place where Pyusawhti prepared his arrows to shoot the Bird.

Bupaya (Google Map)

Reference Books:

Glimpse of Glorious Bagan, Universities Historical Research Centre, Yangon, Myanmar, The University Press, 1996

Pictorial Guide to Pagan, Ministry of Culture, Yangon, Myanmar, The Printing and Publish Corporation, Reprint 1975

The Pagodas and Monuments of Bagan, Vol. 1, Translated by Dr Khin Maung Nyunt, Ministry of Information, Yangon, Myanmar, Graphic Training Centre (G.T.C), 1995

The Pagodas and Monuments of Bagan, Vol. 2, English Text by Dr Khin Maung Nyunt, Ministry of Information, Yangon, Myanmar, Graphic Training Centre (G.T.C), 1998

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