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Pahtothamya Temple
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Name
Date
King
Location
Style
Nearby

Pahtothamya temple, Pahto-Tha-Mya temple
Late 10th century
Nyaung-U Sawrahan
Old Bagan
Early period, Pyu influence
Thatbyinnyu temple, Nathlaung Kyaung temple, Bagan Archeological Museum

Pahtothamya temple: Small 10th century temple with a bulbous dome

      The Pahtothamya temple is one of the oldest temples of Bagan. Although the founding date of the temple is not known with certainty, it was likely built towards the end of the 10th century by King Nyaung-U Sawrahan, ruler of Bagan when the area was not yet unified and Bagan was merely one of the many small city-states in the area.
      The interior walls of the Pahtothamya contain remnants of some of the oldest mural paintings in Bagan. The temple is often closed to protect the murals. The temple located near the South border of old Bagan was damaged by the 1975 earthquake, and has been restored since.

Small, single storey temple

      The Pahtothamya is a small, single storey temple oriented towards the East. On the East side is a vaulted antechamber protruding out of the structure with a main entrance and a smaller entrance on each of the sides.
      The temple’s interior is fairly dark, some daylight comes in through the small holes of perforated stone windows. In the center of the temple is a single square room surrounded by a corridor. The room enshrines three images of the Buddha in the “Calling the Earth to witness” posture. The large central image seated on a high pedestal wearing a red robe is flanked by two smaller ones. The brick images, covered with plaster and painted have been restored.

Fragments of ancient murals

      The stucco on the outer walls has largely disappeared. In the interior some of the stucco remains, on which fragments of ancients murals are visible. Some of the murals that have captions in ancient Mon script have been restored. By walking the corridor around the central dome in a clockwise direction devotees could learn about the Buddhist teachings by looking at the murals depicting scenes from the previous lives of the Buddha, the Jataka tales. The circumambulation would end with a mural depicting the reclining Buddha, passing into final Nirvana. A spiralling stairway in one of the walls leads to the terrace on top of the temple.

Bulbous dome

      On the roof of the Pahtothamya stands a bulbous dome on top of which is a disc shaped box called Harmika, in which are enshrined relics of the Buddha. On the harmika stands a spire diminishing in size towards the top.

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