Myanmar - Burma - Bagan - Nathlaung Kyaung Temple

Nathlaung Kyaung Temple is to the west of the Thatbyinnyu Temple, and it is the only remaining Hindu temple in Bagan. Nat-Hlaung Kyaung temple is one of the oldest temples in Bagan, and was built in the 11th century, during the reign of King Anawratha. Some historians believe the temple was built in the 10th century, during the reign of King Nyaung-u Sawrahan (also known as Taungthugyi). The temple was originally built for Hindu Burmese Indians of the 11th century, including merchants and Brahmins in the service of the king. Many structures of the original temple have disappeared, although the main hall remains. Originally, the temple contained statues of the 10 Avatars of Vishnu, including Gautama Buddha; however, today, only seven remain. The brick temple was isolated and unrepaired for many years, damaged by earthquakes.

Nathlaung Kyaung means 'Shrine Confining Nats or Spirits', a reference to a purported time when King Anawratha tried to banish Nat worship in Bagan. He is said to have confiscated all non-Buddhist religious images including indigenous Myanmar nats and Hindu devas. Then he ordered to have placed them in this shrine as part of an effort to establish 'pure' Theravada Buddhism during his reign. The king eventually gave in to the cult and standardized the current roster of principal Burmese Nats by placing 37 chosen images at Shwezigon Pagoda

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This square temple with steep-rising upper terraces is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, and was perhaps built by Indian artisans brought into Bagan to work on other temples. Strachan suggests that, since it uses the Pyu brick building tradition followed in Bagan architecture, it was built by indigenous artisans of Bagan. It clearly was the temple of the Indian merchant community and Brahmans in the service of the king and was originally not only a place of worship, but also as a sculpture gallery. Of the original temple complex only the superstructure and main hall remain, as the entry hall and other structures have disappeared. The high mandapa, or plinth or porch that extends from the temple, was the gift of a Malabar Vaishnavite saint in the 13th century; it is the only mandapa in Bagan and originally would have been covered by a wooden hall or awning. Considerable repair was done in 1976, as can be seen in the second story and the sikhara , or upper part of the finial. Originally there were 10 avatars, past and present incarnations of Vishnu, housed in niches in the outer walls; seven survive. 

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