Nagayon Temple (1192/ 530)(နဂါးရုံ ဘုရား)

Type of monument Type III Temple
Location South of Nanpaya
Region Myinkaba
Built by King Kyanzittha
Date 12th Century
Monument Number 1192/ 530

Nagayon Temple (1,192/ 530)(နဂါးရုံ ဘုရား)

The Nagayon, built by King Kyansittha (1084-1113), foreshadows his crowning achievement, the Ananda. There are the same sloping roofs, the same terraces, the same corner stupas, the same spire and the same stupa finial. But they are here used in a much more subdued manner than in the Ananda.

A portico in the north, paved with green glazed stones and having niches holding stone reliefs of the life of the Buddha, provides access to the Nagayon. Within the temple itself, the central shrine contains a huge standing image of the Buddha protected by the hood of a naga serpent. Two smaller images flank the main one. A corridor, also paved with green glazed stones, runs around the central shrine.

Dim light comes in through the perforated windows of the outer walls The walls of the corridor have niches holding stone sculptures depicting the Buddhas previous to Gotama, as well as paintings showing scenes from the Jatakas and the Final Life of Gotama Buddha, with legends in Mon and Pali.

According to tradition, the name of the temple – Nagayon, meaning “Protected by the Naga Serpent”-derives from an incident in Kyansittha’s life. Once, when he was fleeing from the wrath of his predecessor, King Sawlu (1077-1084), he was watched over by a young naga while he slept. The place then became the site of the Nagayon.

The naga, a serpent, sometimes human in form, is a part of the Buddhist tradition, a notable instance being the protection given to the Buddha by the Naga king Mucalinda during the seven days of a violent storm. Myanmar tradition also abounds with such accounts as a naga taking part in the foundation of Thayekhittaya (Sriksetra), a naga princess becoming the queen of Pyusawhti and a naga image made and worshipped by King Sawrahan. An inscription also records that Kyansittha made an offering to the naga in the building of his palace.

Nagayone Temple (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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