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Lawkananda Pagoda
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Good Time To Visit: The Whole Year
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Lawkananda Pagoda, Loka Nanda Paya
On the banks of the Irrawaddy river, Off Bagan - Chauk road near new Bagan
Early period

Lawkananda Pagoda: 11th Century stupa on the Irrawaddy river enshrining Buddhist relics

      The Lawkananda Paya is a beautiful golden pagoda on top of a small hill on the banks of the Irrawaddy river. Its name translates to “Joy of the world” in ancient Pali language.
      The pagoda, also known as the Loka Nanda pagoda was built in 1059 by King Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan empire. It enshrines a replica of a tooth relic of the Gautama Buddha, that the King obtained from Sri Lanka.
      The pagoda, located a few kilometers South of old Bagan marked the Southern boundary of Bagan’s capital.

      The cylindrical pagoda somewhat resembles the much olderBupaya pagoda, located further North in old Bagan, which is more bell shaped.
      From the Loka Nanda’s platform visitors have good views of the Irrawaddy river and the mountain range in the background. At night the pagoda is lit up. Although an attractive place with the river breeze and serene atmosphere, the Lawkananda is a little visited Paya, mainly used by Burmese people as a place of worship.
      In the middle of the rainy season late July, Early August depending on the lunar calender the Lawkananda pagoda festival is held to celebrate the rain in the very dry Bagan region.

Gilded pagoda and other structures on the grounds

      On the banks of the Irrawaddy river is a jetty, which during the days of the Bagan empire was used by large trading ships from far away places as the Mon Kingdom Thaton, Rakhine and India. The temple grounds are guarded by two large ferocious looking Chinthe’s (mythological lions), standing at the bottom of the stairways to the platform holding the Lawkananda.

      The pagoda’s dome is set on an octagonal base of three receding tiers. The lower two tiers are fitted with steps on three sides. The cylindrical dome is adorned with intricate flower motifs. The solid brick pagoda, which was previously white, has recently been gilded. Its interior, which enshrines a Buddha tooth relic, is not accessible. The Lawkananda is topped with a hti, a finial in the shape of a multi tiered umbrella often found on Burmese temples. The hti is adorned with jewels.
      On the platform next to the pagoda is a shed housing a large wooden drum and statues of two men carrying a bell. A structure next to the pagoda houses a seated Burmese style Buddha image.

History of the Lawkananda Pagoda

      King Anawrahta had managed to acquire a Buddha tooth relic from the King of Sri Lanka. When the relic arrived by boat the King waded into the waters of the Irrawaddy river to welcome the relic. Initially the relic was enshrined in the Royal Palace, until a pagoda to hold it was built.
      According to ancient chronicles, the tooth was then put in a shrine on the back of a white elephant, which was then set loose. Wherever the elephant would stop and kneel down, the pagoda was to be build. The elephant stopped at the spot where currently the Shwezigon Pagoda stands. Miraculously a second tooth appeared, which was likewise put on top of an elephant, that this time stopped and kneeled down further South on the banks of the Irrawaddy river. At this spot the Lawkananda pagoda was built and the relic was enshrined within it.

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