I remember last year when I visited the different rice terraces and heritage sites in Ifugao. For some, visiting one heritage site in Ifugao is enough but for me our trip became more interesting as we explore new location each day. I had the same feeling in Bagan. At first, I thought extensive visit to temples would be boring but I was wrong.
Sulamani Temple Entrance
As we get to visit each temple, I learned that each Pagoda has a unique character, design and features. Its been a while since the last time I was delighted as a photographer. Each stupa and temple provides a unique vantage point to enjoy.
One of most beautiful temple Ive visited in Bagan is the Sulamani Temple. No wonder this sophisticated and well known Pagoda situated beyond Dhammayangyi Pagoda is called the “Crowning Jewel”.
View from the Gate
Upon arrival at the gate of the temple, I was really impressed with its intricate design but I was immediately destructed with the number of souvenir peddlers in both sides of the isle towards the main Pagoda.
Horse Cart in Bagan
Built by King Narapatisithu (1174–1211), This temple features mainly two storeys on expansive terraces built in to create or mark a typical and overall pyramid architectural effect. It depicts some of the most excellent ornamental brick works, which can be significantly considered as the best temple works done in Bagan.
Huge Buddha Image inside Sulamani Temple
The characteristic of this architectural work model certainly makes this temple a more stylish place of worship than Htilominlo and Gawdawpalin. Sulamani Temple in Bagan is regarded as the first and the most significant temple building of that period (1174–1211).
Famous Dusty Sunset of Bagan
The temple is constructed of red bricks typically in a pyramidal square base model facing the eastern side. Two main verandas at each of the key points are combined with two doorways towards the eastern side in this temple. The entire structure includes two main squares or beautiful stupas as well. Another important feature of this temple structure is the higher interior lighting. People who enter the temple building will be stunned by the striking light rays.
Wall Painting in Sulamani Temple
Direct sun rays hit the outer arches towards the central core depicting a series of slow and golden glowing rays. Another interesting features that made this temple unique are the painted walls that are decorated with murals dating back to 12th–19th centuries. The temple work is mainly engraved on stucco, in particular, as moldings, pediments and pilasters, all of which can be valued as premium ornamental temple work in Bagan.
Ron and Monette in Sulamani Temple
Sulamani Temple is regarded as one of the earliest double-storeyed temples, but it is still unique in its design set in a simple but experimental format. As a depiction of the ancient monastery styles in Bagan, the temple interior walls are typically lined with monastic cells.
The down floor of this temple is equipped with three terraces. Both the upper and the lower part of the temple terraces contain tiny spires. The topmost part of the temple is built in a tower structure style called sikhara, whose origins lie in the Northern India.
Marky Ramone Go inside Sulamani Temple
The ground floor of the temple includes Lord Buddha images directly facing the four different directions. The eastern side or direction depicts an image, which sits in a recess carefully built into the wall. The stairways directly take people towards the upper part or top of the temple. The northern part of the temple compound consists of a monastery building holding the remains of Sulamani Kyaung, the senior temple monk, along with Tripitaka (the Buddhist scriptures) enclosed in the wall. This monastery building is also used as an ordination hall.
Sulamani Temple is one of the largest temples in Old Bagan, which includes 547 Jataka Plaques in a complete set, mainly with the primary objective of teaching or making people aware of the significance of Buddhism.
I really enjoyed the wonderful view from the temple top but we had to leave for another temple to witness the beautiful dusty sunset the Old City of Bagan is known for.