Shwesandaw Pagoda (1568/ 849)

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Type of monument Type II Pagoda (Zedi)
LocationNortheast of Old Bagan
RegionOld Bagan
Built byKing Anawrahta
DateA.D 1057
Monument Number 1568/ 849

Shwe Sandaw Pagoda

Shwe Sandaw Pagoda was built in A.D. 1057 by King Anawrahta. There are image houses at four sides. In them are hard stone images of Buddha in the posture of Jhana mudra (state of intense concentration of mind). They are stone of Anawrahta’s time.

Such like Buddha images were made in the reign of Anawrahta. Hard stones were used and the images were usually massive. On the palms and soles of the images were incised night petal lotus flowers. Below these images are stone slabs with grooves to let water go out. It is therefore assumed that lustral water was poured on these images. In the eastern devotional hall at Lawkananda Pagoda there is a stone Buddha image of 6  feet high, sculpted out of a single piece. This image is identical in style with those of Anawrahta’s time. Two images on the east and one image on the west of Shwe Sandaw Pagoda are also of Jhana mudra pose.

One of the two images in the eastern image house was recovered in 1968 from beneath the debris. It was moved to the Archeological Museum.

During the excavation of 1969, four brick Buddha images, each about 10 feet high, sitting back to back were dug up from the floor of the eastern image house. This eastern image house is now roofless. The roof of the western image house was also fallen down. Its stone image was
moved to a nearby Pagoda. There still remains in the image house a big stone slab with grooves. One bronze image was discovered in this house when its walls were restored. The bronze image is now on display at National Museum in Yangon.

Shwe Sandaw Pagoda has five terraces. On the topmost terrace rises a bell-shaped stupa. All four sides have each a stairway leading right up to the fifth terrace. At the side of the second terrace on the west, there is a tunnel dug by robbers to get to the central chamber in which relics and treasures were enshrined. Up till 1957 the whole structure of this Pagoda was in its
original condition— fine brick red in colour and no plaster covering. But in that year the Pagoda Trustees led by the monk Sayadaw U Wayama renovated and embellished it by plastering and lime washing the whole pagoda. So it now look likes a modern structure. During renovation 50
bronze statues of Buddha were discovered near Shwe Sandaw forest monk’s monastery. These statues are exhibited at Archeological Museum.

Nine bronze Buddha statues discovered after the 1975 earth-quake took place were moved to the Bagan Archeological Museum. Previously there were stone idols of deva placed back to back at the corners of the terraces. But they are now all damaged due to vandalism. Broken pieces are kept in the image house. Some of these idols are found to be Maha Peinhne devas
(Ganesha). That is why local people call this pagoda Maha Peinhne Pagoda.

On the west of Shwe Sandaw Pagoda stands a huge reclining Buddha image of 70 feet long, heading towards south. It is sheltered inside an image house. On the walls of the house are original Bagan frescoes in a fair state of preservation.

Shwesandaw Pagoda (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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