Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

MYINKABA VILLAGE, Myanmar (Burma) — Manuha Temple is unusual in several ways, not the least that it’s an expression of the prison-like conditions of its captive creator.

Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
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Filed Under: Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar / Burma Travel Update

Since I was there, the situation in Myanmar/Burma has changed a lot. In February 2021, a military coup sparked widespread civil unrest and armed conflict.

The U.S. State Department currently advises: "Do not travel to Burma due to civil unrest and armed conflict." You can find their full travel advisory and security alerts here. And you can find the British Foreign Office's travel advice for Myanmar / Burma here.

Most of the temples in Bagan are out on the plain. The Manuha Temple is different. It’s tucked into Myinkaba Village, a smaller built-up area just off the main road, halfway between Old Bagan and New Bagan.

It was built around the 1060s, making it one of the oldest temples in Bagan. And it was built by the Mon King Manuha, the founder of the Bagan Empire.

It’s also unusual in other ways.

The cramped feel is deliberate. According to legend, Anawrahta let Manuha design the temple, and Manuha used it as an opportunity to express his dissatisfaction with being held captive. And so its interior feels positively prison-like.1

To do that, he included three chambers arranged in a row, unlike the more traditional concentric layout of other temples in Bagan.

In each room is a Buddha statue massively out of proportion with the interior of the temple. They stretch to the ceiling and leave little space inside for much else. Two of the Buddhas are seated; a third stretches out, reclined, in a long hallway-like chamber.

It’s a mix of Mon and Burmese architectural styles, a reflection of the blended cultures of the time.

Photos of Manuha Temple

Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Reclining Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – The reclining Buddha.
Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Donations of Rice and Food at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Peacock Floor Tiles at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Flags and Donor List at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Statuettes at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – A small alcove in the exterior of the temple.
Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Decorative detail on top of a ceremonial bell in the courtyard of the temple.
Donations of Rice and Food at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Food, sacks of rice, and cash brought to the temple as offerings.
Burmese Woman at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Statuettes at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Statuettes at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Donations of Rice and Food at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Donations of rice, food, and money for the temple.
Donors List at Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Reclining Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Another view of the reclining Buddha statue.
Ceremonial Bell Outside Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
BAGAN, Myanmar – Built in 1067, Manuha Temple features massive statues of The Buddha crammed within spaces barely large enough to hold them. An especially large reclining Buddha is a particular highlight. The temple is located in Myinkaba Village inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone.

What to Know Before You Go to Manuha Temple

You can find Manuha Temple just off the main road halfway between Old Bagan and New Bagan. It’s quite small and quite plain from the outside–a whitewashed rectangular building.

If you go in the morning, it’s worth going across the street to the Myinkaba Village’s morning market.

As usual, you’ll be expected to remove your shoes before entering.

Manuha Temple FAQs

What is the significance of Manuha Temple?

Manuha Temple is an important historical site in Bagan, Myanmar, built around the 1060s CE by the captive Mon king, Manuha. It is known for its unique architecture and houses four large Buddha statues, including a reclining Buddha representing the suffering and desire for nirvana of King Manuha.

How do I get to Manuha Temple?

Manuha Temple is located in Myinkaba Village, south of Old Bagan. You can reach the temple by bike, e-bike, horse cart, or taxi from nearby towns such as Nyaung U, Old Bagan, or New Bagan. It’s about 4.4 km from Old Bagan and 6.8 km from Nyaung U Airport.

  1. Joe Robinson, “Myanmar; on a Steeple Chase; an Adventure Behind the Curtain of Myanmar Leads to an Ancient City of Buddhist Temples that Rival Cambodia’s Angkor Wat,” Los Angeles Times, 12 August 2007. []
David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »