August 20, 2016

150-year-old Pakhan Nge Monastery falls into ruin

The original Pakhan Nge monastery (left) and the ruins seen today. Photo: Min Htet Aung
The original Pakhan Nge monastery (left) and the ruins seen today. Photo: Min Htet Aung

AN ANCIENT monasterybuiltover 150 years ago during the Konbaung era in Pakhan Nge village, is deteriorating and in desperate need of conservation, according to locals resident.
All that remains of the monastery todayare a few wooden posts and some concrete steps.
According to the monastery’s records, King Mondon, the father of Myanmar’s final monarch, King Thibaw, ordered ministers and sawbwas (Shan chieftains) to assist in completing the construction of the huge monastery on 16 acres of land.The edifice was built by his uncle, Pakhan Mingyi U Yan Way, for the Pandu Sayadaw, a prominent Buddhist monk during the Konbaung era.
The Pandu Sayadaw taught Buddhist literature to more than 400 monks at the monastery about 150 years ago.
It took seven years for 100 carpenters to complete the wooden building using traditional Myanmar architectural techniques, most notably the inclusion of eight-step stairways.
The monastery is held up by are 332 wooden posts,each of which is between 6 and 19 metrestall and nearly 2 metres in circumference.
“When I was young, I pretended to be a king sitting on the throne of the monastery. But today, the throne is not here, and the monastery is deteriorating,” said U Soe Win Myint, a resident of Pakhan Nge village.
Local residents have not been able to fund conservation efforts, and the national heritage building is falling into ruin before our eyes, he added.


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