December 14, 2017

Suspected mausoleum of ancient king falling into disrepair

Mausoleum of King U Aung Zeya  is seen in the grounds of the Theyettaw Monastery in a village in Bilin Township in the Thaton District of Mon State. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency
Mausoleum of King U Aung Zeya is seen in the grounds of the Theyettaw Monastery in a village in Bilin Township in the Thaton District of Mon State. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency

AN ancient building believed to be the mausoleum of King U Aung Zeya, located in the grounds of the Theyettaw Monastery in a village in Bilin Township in the Thaton District of Mon State, is currently in need of conservation works, according to local residents.
The mausoleum receives regular visits by both foreigners and locals, and despite efforts to contain the mausoleum by putting surrounding it with barbed wire, residents say the structures lack of roofing is accelerating its degradation at the hands of the natural elements.
Only one of the mausoleum’s two stupas, located on the eastern its edge, remains intact due to previous conservation measures.
Head monk of the Thayettaw Monastery, U Nya Nayda, said the site could become a destination that supports the tourist industry if the state were to systematically conserve it.
“This mausoleum used to be very tall, but it slowly crumbled away. The figures that encircle the mausoleum have also broken because of rain and wind damage. In our capacity as monks, we collect those bits that break off and conserve them as much as possible. We’ve put a fence around the area. So many people come to study this site. If this site could be conserved with a roof of some kind, it could support the development of the region and the tourist industry,” the monk said.
U Soe Soe Kyi, the local administrator of Kin Village, where the mausoleum is located, cited archaeologists who have studied the site, saying the structure is approximately 36 feet in length and 24 feet in width, surrounded by ceramic male and female figures, and decorated with flowers. He said it is possible that the style of the brick work on the remaining stupa in front of the mausoleum indicates post-Inwa(Ava) era or Konebaung era handiwork.—Myitmakha News Agency

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