In the undulating hills of Rakhine, western Myanmar, the little known archaeological site, Mrauk U is located in. It is the plain of ancient Buddhist pagodas and temples built by the Mrauk U Kings. The scenery of abandoned city and hundreds of temples and pagodas lying across the northern Rakhine State hilltops forms a jaw-dropping sight and provide an outstanding experience you never find anywhere else in Myanmar.
The monuments of Mrauk U are practically separated into northern, eastern, southern, and western groups. Some of the temples are remain worshipped by the local Rakhine villages. Most of temples have temple’s name plate with the date of construction in English. Unlike in Bagan that some of temples are closed, all the temples in Mrauk U are open and ready to be explored. Here’re some famous temples and pagodas in Mrauk U.
Kothaung Temple is one of the highlights in Mrauk U. Its name means the temple of 90,000 Buddha images. From the outside, you will see the large and cube-like construction and hundreds of small stupas. The inner chambers have the life-sized Buddha statues on both sides of the wall.
Sakyamanaung Pagoda is a large, multi-tiered pagoda featuring golden and bejewelled tops to its structures and two colourful, sword-bearing figures at its entrance. This pagoda is quite popular amongst locals.
Ringed by 24 smaller stupas, Ratanabon Pagoda has dark, brick-built, bell-shaped style that is different from other temples and pagodas in Mrauk U. Its name means ‘treasure’ and it was said that it kept some precious objects in the central stupa. Most travellers come to this Pagoda to admire the stunning view of both sunset and sunrise
Not far from Ratanabon Pagoda, Andaw Pagoda has believed that it has a tooth relic of the Buddha enshrined in. Inside of the pagoda features a Buddha in the centre and circular vault with a number of stone Buddha images.
Shittaung Pagoda recognised as the main temple of Mrauk U is the most famous temple in Mrauk U. The exterior has been encased in concrete while the inside remains intact. At the pagoda, you’ll spot the labyrinth of stone Buddhas.
Located across from Shittaung Pagoda, Htukkanthein Temple is considered to be one of the main temples in Mrauk U. From the outside, this temple looks like a bunker. The dramatic interior chamber and hundreds of stone figures and Buddhas make inside of the temples more unique and fascinating than the other temples.