Gawdawpalin is the second tallest temple in Bagan, attracting lots of tourist to visit.
Construction of the Gawdawpalin temple started during the reign of King Narapatisithu, which was a very prosperous time in the history of the Bagan empire. During his reign a number of magnificent monuments was built, including the Gawdawpalin, the Dhammayazika, the Sulamani and a number of less known pagodas and temples. The temple was completed during the reign of his successor, King Htilominlo in the early 13th century.
Architecture of the Gawdawpalin temple
The Gawdawpalin is a large two storey temple built in the style of the late Bagan period. It resembles the Thatbyinnyu temple, that was built half a century earlier in the year 1144.
The structure is set on a low platform. The lower cube is surrounded by a corridor that contains a seated Buddha image on a pedestal on each of the four sides. The massive lower floor is topped by three receding terraces.
The second cube is much smaller and contains the principal Buddha image. The cube is topped by another four receding terraces. Small stupas are placed on the corners of both the lower and upper terraces.
The top of the Gawdawpalin temple comprises of a sikhara and a hti, a spire ornament shaped like an umbrella found on top of most Burmese temples. The sikhara, an Indian style tower structure is much like that of the Ananda, although the sikhara of the Ananda is completely gilded.
Each side of the pagoda has an entrance with porticoes protruding out from the structure. The Eastern one is the main entrance and protrudes out more, which breaks the symmetry of the structure.