Rakhine State is in the West of Myanmar and is famous for its ancient architectural evidences.
A Rakhine ancient city where researchers from the world nations used to visit is Mrauk Oo.
In Rakhine history, there were 4 eras Danyawaddy era from 400 BC to 4 AD, Waithali era from 4 AD to 8 AD, LayMyoh era from 8 AD to 15 AD and Mrauk Oo era from 15 AD to 18 AD.
Throughout Rakhine history, Rakhine culture flousihed at its peak in Mrauk Oo era (1430 to 1785) AD.
Therefore, it can be said that studying Mrauk Oo era is studying the whole Rakhine culture.
Out of the numerous ancient religious buildings in Mrauk Oo, Htukkant Thein Temple reveals how high the standard of archeology of ancient Rakhine nationals well. It also reflects the pride and glory of Mrauk Oo Era.
The curved roof of Htukkant Thein Temple is suitable to the climatic condition of Rakhine State where monsoon is favourable. Htukkant Thein Temple which was reversely built on 20 ft high hillock is 110 ft long from South to North and 137 ft from East to West. The long stairway to the hillock still remains. It was made of large stones and about 20 steps of it are high to some distance.
The foundation plan of Htukkant Thein Temple is very outstanding. To withstand the monsoon, it was massively built and thus, from some distance it can be seen as a huge and strong fort. There is an only access to the Htukkant Thein Temple. Through this, there is an outer circuit at which pilgrims can visit around the temple in clockwise direction.
Htukkant Thein Temple has 2 circuits with one ordination hall.
On the wall of the outer circuit there are 146 small caves where sitting Buddha images are revered.
The most significant attraction is creating stone statues. Over 330 stone statues as a gesture of paying respects to the Lord Buddha by laities and well-wishers artistically reflect the costume style in Mrauk Oo Period. One special lively thing is the manner of stone statues of Rakhine ladies in Mrauk Oo who are sitting holding lotus flowers in hands and casting down their eyes.
In addition, different styles of all walks of life in Mrauk Oo Period in 16 Century such as royal staff, wealthy persons and common strata can be studied by observing those stone statues. Therefore, Htukkant Thein Temple is well-known as a costume museum of Mrauk Oo Era.
It is also appreciable to see the human statues for which large and small stones were joined and amazingly sculptured. They really reflect the idealistic and innovative creations of ancient architects in Mrauk Oo Era.
Along the walkway in the temple, there are many lighting holes. By observing the length of those lighting holes, the massiveness of Htukkant Thein Temple can be estimated. . Htukkant Thein Temple,its flooring is of stones and ceiling and arched roof were made by driving wedges tightly.
Buildings in Mrauk Oo Era were proportionately constructed with the stone bricks made by sculpting the large stones fetched from rivers and sea beach and the quality plaster. Therefore, they could firmly stand as strong buildings which can prevent the natural disasters and reduce the humidity.
One of the wonders of the temple is impressive making of winding path inside the temple. As it gradually gets higher and higher, pilgrims can tirelessly visit around the temple.
At the end of the outer circuit, there is a wide room in which sitting Buddha Images were placed. Besides, the entrance to the inner circuit can be found there.
On each side of the entrance, a stone sculpted ogre statue was kept. Because of the skillful creations of Mrauk Oo Period, they are amazingly alive.
The inner circuit along which sitting Buddha Images were reverely put is wider than the outer circuit. At the end of the inner circuit, there is an entrance. Moreover, there is a stone stairways with about 10 steps. Through which, one can enter the large room with stone flooring and high roofing.
It is really interesting to see stone slabs which were happened to intentionally make on the wall for litting oil lamps. It’s also wonderful that the stone slabs were created at some points higher than that of a man’s height.
About 10 steps up from this hall, there is a chamber where a sitting Buddha Image was reverely kept.
Because of the lighting holes made at the chamber to fully get the natural light to the face of the Buddha Image through the day and this shows the impressive innovations of ancient Rakhine architects.
Being situated in Rakhine State, Mrauk Oo grandly stands till today as an ancient city of Mrauk Oo Period.
Do you agree that Htukkant Thein Temple which portrays the Rakhine history is reliable cultural and historical evidence that can proudly stand in Mrauk Oo for ages.