Travel to Burma / Myanmar: Pagan: Photo 4
Nearby is another very early and unusual structure, also built before or during the reign of Anawrahta. It once housed an image of the sleeping Vishnu, and the niches in the exterior walls also held sculptures, which may have been shaded by a now-vanished outer gallery. The structure lies within Pagan's city wall, which raises the obvious question: why a Hindu temple at the center of a Buddhist state? The answer appears to be that Anawrahta relied on Brahmans to generate the kind of folderol that royalty craves but which Buddhism shuns. The temple, by the way, is now called Nat-hlaung-kyaung, the "shrine confining the deities." That's a later and pejorative label; earlier, the building was more neutrally called Nat-daw-lyaung, the "shrine of the sacred deities."
Back to Burma / Myanmar: Pagan chapter
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