Gubyaukgyi Temple

Gubyaukgyi Temple or Gu Byauk Gyi or Kubyauk-gyi is a Theravada Buddhism temple in Myin Ka Bar Village, Bagan, Mandalay Region, Myanmar, built by Prince Yazakumar (born 1078) in 1113 or shortly after the death of his father, King Kyansittha of the Pagan Dynasty. The temple has a large collection of interior wall paintings as the oldest original paintings found in Old Bagan.

Gubyaukgyi Temple is one of the privileged temples built by the Pagan Empire in Old Bagan where the interior walls are adorned with frescoes and accompanied by ink written in Old Mon which provides one of the earliest examples of language use in Myanmar.

Xvlor Gubyaukgyi Temple is ornate mural temple built by Prince Yazakumar in 1113 Gubyaukgyi Temple is ornate mural temple built by Prince Yazakumar in 1113

Yazakumar became the titular governor of northern Arakan in 1091-1113 during the reign of his father King Kyansittha. He is famous for the 1113 Myazedi inscription he donated for the honor of his father. The stone inscription has a scientific meaning because it allows the deciphering of Pyu language.

The temple is located just west of the Myazedi pagoda where it has two stone pillars and four ancient Asian scripts are Pali, Old Mon, Old Burma, and Pyu. The inscription on the pillar is called Burmese Rosetta Stone as a pandora box for historical and linguistic investigation as the key to breaking the language of Pyu and other old Myanmar civilizations.

Gubyaukgyi has a style that includes elements of Mon and India where temple towers are built in Indian Shikhara style. The temple has a square base, shaped like a Kalatha pot with curvilinear roof. The inside of the temple contains a large perimeter chamber connected to a small space, an entrance to the hall, and a passage leading into the sacred space.

This temple has 11 large windows of Pyu style and perforated. Nine windows on the outside wall and two interior windows are formed in various ways, including Banyan leaf and swastika. The terrace has a Buddha figure supported by intricate carvings and flower ornaments. Other stucco designs include concentric rings, ogre sculptures, and alcoves containing Buddha statues.

Gubyaukgyi temple has 547 paintings depicting various Jātaka or life stories before Buddha. Each painting has an ink text written on Old Mon. Unlike the Jātaka mural seen in other Bagan shrines, Gubyaukgyi has a very large number of well-preserved and accompanied captions that facilitate identification.

This temple implies a cultural exchange between the Pagan Empire and eastern India where Bagan has a Bihar style painting. Patterns seen in Indian textiles are depicted in the mural of Gubyaukgyi and can be found in temple paintings in some contexts on Buddhist pillow rests, beneath the Buddhist throne, and in the pavilion where Buddha sits.

The similarities of influence from eastern India can be found in a recurrent geometrical pattern that is directed like circles, squares, diamonds and hexagons can be seen in the clothes of some Buddhist royal disciples. The striped pattern is mainly around the legs of the gods in the form of scrolls. Gubyaukgyi Temple is ornate mural temple built by Prince Yazakumar in 1113

Xvlor Gubyaukgyi Temple is ornate mural temple built by Prince Yazakumar in 1113

Location: Myin Ka Bar Village, Bagan, Mandalay Region, Myanmar.

Routes and public transport: Flight to Nyaung U Airport in Bagan, then drive to Gubyaukgyi Temple.