Since I was there, the situation in Myanmar/Burma has changed a lot. In February 2021, a military coup sparked widespread civil unrest and armed conflict.
The U.S. State Department currently advises: "Do not travel to Burma due to civil unrest and armed conflict." You can find their full travel advisory and security alerts here. And you can find the British Foreign Office's travel advice for Myanmar / Burma here.
Most of the temples in Bagan are out on the plain. The Manuha Temple is different. It’s tucked into Myinkaba Village, a smaller built-up area just off the main road, halfway between Old Bagan and New Bagan.
It was built around the 1060s, making it one of the oldest temples in Bagan. And it was built by the Mon King Manuha, the founder of the Bagan Empire.
It’s also unusual in other ways.
The cramped feel is deliberate. According to legend, Anawrahta let Manuha design the temple, and Manuha used it as an opportunity to express his dissatisfaction with being held captive. And so its interior feels positively prison-like.1
To do that, he included three chambers arranged in a row, unlike the more traditional concentric layout of other temples in Bagan.
In each room is a Buddha statue massively out of proportion with the interior of the temple. They stretch to the ceiling and leave little space inside for much else. Two of the Buddhas are seated; a third stretches out, reclined, in a long hallway-like chamber.
It’s a mix of Mon and Burmese architectural styles, a reflection of the blended cultures of the time.
Photos of Manuha Temple
What to Know Before You Go to Manuha Temple
You can find Manuha Temple just off the main road halfway between Old Bagan and New Bagan. It’s quite small and quite plain from the outside–a whitewashed rectangular building.
As usual, you’ll be expected to remove your shoes before entering.
Manuha Temple FAQs
What is the significance of Manuha Temple?
Manuha Temple is an important historical site in Bagan, Myanmar, built around the 1060s CE by the captive Mon king, Manuha. It is known for its unique architecture and houses four large Buddha statues, including a reclining Buddha representing the suffering and desire for nirvana of King Manuha.
How do I get to Manuha Temple?
Manuha Temple is located in Myinkaba Village, south of Old Bagan. You can reach the temple by bike, e-bike, horse cart, or taxi from nearby towns such as Nyaung U, Old Bagan, or New Bagan. It’s about 4.4 km from Old Bagan and 6.8 km from Nyaung U Airport.
Joe Robinson, “Myanmar; on a Steeple Chase; an Adventure Behind the Curtain of Myanmar Leads to an Ancient City of Buddhist Temples that Rival Cambodia’s Angkor Wat,” Los Angeles Times, 12 August 2007. [↩]
I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »
I take photos and travel. I do it for a living. Seven continents. Dozens of countries. Up mountains. Under water. And a bunch of places in between. Based in Washington DC.