Gawdawpalin Temple

Gawdawpalin Temple.This Pagoda is one of 90 religious monuments located within the city walls. It is situated close to the Ayeyarwady River. It was built in A. D.1175 by King Narapati-sithu to commemorate the ceremony of paying homage to the manes ancestors. Legend has it that this king had commited a sin against his ancestors by thinking that they were not as grate as he. As a punishment for his sin his eyes turned blind. At the advice of the Brahmen astrologers at the court, king made idols of his ancestors and placed them on the thrones. The King worshipped them asking forgiveness for his sin. He regained his sight. On the place where this ceremony took place was built Gawdaw Palin Pagoda. The name Gawdaw Palin literally means “the throne which was worshipped. “ It is one of the big cave pagodas (Temple) of Bagan. In plan it resembles those of Sulamani and Htilo Minlo Pagodas. Previously it was known as the three vaulted corridor Pagoda. But the earthquake of 1975 had revealed a secret passage around the base of the Sikhara. So it should be called lour vaulted corridor Pagoda. There are four Buddha images on the upper storey and 10 Buddha images in the ground floor. At the north-east corner of the brick platform there is a stone image of sitting Buddha in a house. It is an original artwork. Due to limewash by the devotees of later period frescoes are visible only very faintly. At the south-east corner of the precinct is an octagonal Pagoda with two bell posts and at the north-east corner is a zedi of later period. Between Gawdaw Palin Pagoda and Archeological Museum there is a brick mound which was once a monastery where the monks who took care of Gawdaw Palin Pagoda resided. In the east of this mound lie rows of stones in arrangement which indicate the site of a Dhamma Sala. There used to be glazed plaques adorning the structure. Due to theft and vandalism only few are left. This Pagoda is but one specimen of Bagan’s excellent ancient architecture. There are secret passages to which access is had by spiral stairways built inside the walls. Sand stones were fixed in, to support the eaves so as to strengthen the roof. At the corners of the main structure are found comer stones in the shape of carpenter’s square to keep the two walls within tight grip. This Pagoda was badly damaged by the 1975 earthquake. From the inside of the Sikhara and the heads of the Buddha images fell down many art objects such as bronze statues of Buddha and bronze figurines, Pyu silver coins, and so on. These are exhibited in Bagan Archeological Museum. Two gold images of Buddha studded with gems, two gold zedis, and other statues and figurines were re-enshrined when the restoration work was completed.

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