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.
Manuha Temple is one of the easiest temples to visit. It’s in Myinkaba Village, just south of Old Bagan, and right on the main road.
It’s also one of the oddest, not at all like most of the other temples and pagodas in Bagan. The layout is very different, inside and out.
The main feature is three chambers that are filled with oversized statues of the Buddha, each of stucco and painted gold. They’re vastly outsized for their spaces, and it’s hard to get a good view of them.
In the back, an extension includes an even larger chamber taken up with a massive reclining Buddha.
The uniqueness of Manuha Temple also raises questions about its origins. Local lore dates it to the 11th century, which would place it part of the first major building wave on the Bagan (Pagan) plain. But it’s also possible it’s much more recent, perhaps from the 18th century.1
What is clear is that much of what we see today when we visit is much newer again. An earthquake in 1975 caused major damage, and the temple was rebuilt in the late 1970s, this time of reinforced concrete.
Photos of Manuha Temple in Bagan
What to Know Before You Go
Manuha Temple is one of the easiest temples to visit. It’s in Myinkaba Village, just south of Old Bagan on the main road.
- Donald M. Stadtner, Ancient Pagan: Buddhist Plain of Merit (Bangkok: River Books, 2013), pp.174-75.