Htukkanthein Temple

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HtukKanThein Temple
Cross-Beam Ordination Hall
HtukKanThein.jpg
HtukKanThein Temple
Htukkanthein Temple is located in Burma
Htukkanthein Temple
Htukkanthein Temple
Location within Burma
20°35′52″N 93°11′29″E / 20.59778°N 93.19139°E / 20.59778; 93.19139
Information
Denomination Theravada Buddhism
Founded 1571
Founder(s) King Min Phalaung
Country Myanmar

Htukkanthein (, pronounced 'Htoke-kan-thein' in Arakanese) is one of the most famous temples in the ancient Arakanese city of Mrauk U, in Rakhine State, Western Myanmar. The name means "Cross-Beam Ordination Hall".

Like most of Mrauk U's Buddhist temples, it is designed as a dual purpose 'fortress-temple'. Although it is a 'thein' (Ordination Hall), it is one of the most militaristic buildings in Mrauk U, built on raised ground, with a single entrance and small windows. According to Dr. Emil Forchhammer, an archaeologist employed by the British Raj to study Mrauk U in the late 19th century, the temples might have been employed as a refuge for the Buddhist religious order in times of war.

Buddha images flanked by donors sculpted in low relief

The temple enshrining the statues of Buddha was built in 1571 by King Min Phalaung. It is located on a small hill a stone's throw away from the Shite-thaung Temple. At the centre of the temple is a dome topped with a mushroom shaped crown or hti, surrounded by four smaller stupas at the corners. At the facade base of the central dome is a square window designed in such a manner that, at dawn, the sun's rays shine directly onto the main Buddha image inside the central vault. At the west side of the temple is a small meditation chamber, accessible only via the main temple.

The temple is constructed of brick and stone.

The Htukkanthein has three chambers, rotating clockwise inwards. The entire temple has a total of 180 Buddha images in niches (179 smaller ones along the corridors, and 1 at the central vaulted chamber). On each side of the niches are sculpted male and a female figures said to represent the donors who made the construction of the temple possible.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Pamela Gutman (2001) Burma's Lost Kingdoms: splendours of Arakan. Bangkok: Orchid Press