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The Pagan Dynasty

ANAWRAHTA (1044 TO 1077 A.D)

1.His Ascendancy.3.His Wars.
2.His Administration.4.His Religion.

1. His Ascendancy

Anawrahta was the son of Kunhsaw Kyaungpyu. The latter was a beetle-seller at the court of Nyaung-u-Sawhran the second important chief of Pagan. Kunhsaw Kyaungpyu killed the chief and usurped the throne. He kept the two sons of the dead chief at the palace. When they grew up they became monks and erected a monastery. They then invited the chief to bless the temple, and when the later came they forced him to become a monk while they took the throne. After some years one of the brothers died and only Sokkc-Te remained. In 1044 A.D. Sokke-Te had to fight Anawrahta the son of the usurper. Anawrahta wanted to avenge his father's imprisonment in the monastery. In this battle Sokke-Te was killed, and Anawrahta became the ruler of Pagan.

Towards 1044 A.D. the Pyus had intermingled with the other tribes and they merged into a new tribe which later came to be called BURMESE. Thus, at the time of accession of Anawrahta the Pyus termed themselves as Burmese. The Pyus or the Burmese Districts were Meiktila, Mandalay, Myingyan, Kyaukse, Yamethm, Sagaing, Pakokku and Minbu. Anawrahta now began to rule all these places. His kingdom at the time of his accession was therefore about 200 miles north to south and 80 miles east to west.

At the time of his accession Anawrahta had a son called SAWLU. But he wanted a royal marriage and therefore

Burma Under The Pagan Dynasty (1044 to 1287)

married Pancha Kalyani, an Indian Princess. Anawrahta now received another son called Kyanzittha who grew up to be a great warrior and won much fame in the wars against the Maw Shans. He soon received the admiration of all the people at the court. Sawlu began to dislike Kyanzittha because of the latter's abilities.

2. His Administration

Till 1056 A.D. Anawrahta had no war plans; the years following his accession were peaceful ones for his subjects. He tried to introduce a centralised system of government and succeeded in his attempt. He divided the kingdom into districts and appointed OFFICERS to maintain law and order and also to see to the collection of revenue, Historians mention that this collection of revenue was based on the productivity of the soil. In this way Anawrahta began to link his kingdom together under his direct rule. It was a unique attempt. Anawrahta was also much interested in the production of crops. He repaired the Meiktila Lake and made many irrigational canals in order to improve the production of rice. During his reign Kyaukse became a rich rice-growing area, and came to be called the RICE GRANARY of Burma. It is stated that he personally saw to the construction of these canals. As a result of these improvements there was much prosperity throughout his 'Kingdom. He became very popular and soon won the love and loyalty of his subjects.

3. His Wars

Anawrahta began his wars after 1056 A.D. He then launched out into a series aggressive wars. With the arrival of Shin Arahan at his palace a great chance came over his peaceful policy. He began to undertake offensive wars.

In 1056 Shin Arahan, a Thahton monk, entered his Kingdom and arrived at his palace. He began to preach the pure form of Buddhist religion. Anawrahta and his subject had so far heard the Ari teachings only which was a corrupted form of Buddhism. He now accepted the teachings of Shin Arahan and asked him to convert his subjects as well. But for this great task Shin Arahan needed the HOLY BOOKS or the TRIPITAKAS. He thereupon asked the ruler to get these books on loan from the chief of Thahton. Anawrahta then made a request to the Thahton chief for a loan of these Holy Books but the latter refused. This made Anawrahta very furious and in the same year he invaded Thahton. Thus began his wars. His success at Thahton made him very ambitious and he undertook two more aggressive wars. His wars can therefore be classified as follows :—

 (a)The Thahton Invasion.
 (b)The Arakan Invasion.
 (c)The Alied war with the chief of Pegu against the Maw Shans.

(a) The Thaton invasion
In 1056 Anawrahta invaded Thaton. It brought a brilliant victory to him. The chief of Thaton was taken prisoner along with this royal family. The Talaings then submitted to the Burmese ruler and acknowledged him as their overlord. The significance of this war is as follows: —

1.The Pagan Kingdom now stretched over the Delta and the Tenasserim.
2.Thahton gradually began to lose its religious importance because the Holy Books called the Tripitakas were taken to Pagan.
3.Pagan became a great religious centre and continued to remain so for many centuries.
4.The Talaing culture was also removed to Pagan. The leading Talaing artisans were taken td the Burmese capital.
5.The Talaing language was also introduced at Pagan. The script was PALI.

(b)The Arakan invasion
Immediately after the end of the Thahton Invasion Anawrahta had to invade Arakan. The Pagan ruler had denounced the Ari religion. But the Arakanese still believed in the magical powers of the Ari religion. Rumours reached Anawrahta that these magical powers practised by the Arakanese might prove to be a source of danger to the safety of his kingdom. The Pagan ruler thereupon invaded Asakan in order to crush these magical powers. He was successful in defeating the Arakanese and then he destroyed the MAHAMUNI TEMPLE. He also captured the chief of Arakan and his family, and brought them to his capital. Thus ended Arakan invasion. The Arakanese also acknowledged him as their overlord and agreed to send him annual tributes.

(c) The Allied War with the Chief of Pegu against the Maw Shans
Anawrahta received homage from several of the Shan chiefs, and the latter had taken the oath of allegiance. But in spite of this existing friendship Anawrahta built forty-five military outposts along the eastern borders of his kingdom to safeguard the frontiers. The chief of Pegu had often to submit to the plundering invasions made by the Maw Shans. The Pegu chief then asked for an alliance from Anawrahta against the Maw Shans. The Pagan ruler sent four of his great warlords, and one of these was his son called Kyanzittha. The allied forces won the war and the Shans were suppressed severely. The chief of Pegu offered his daughter to Anawrahta as a token of gratitude. She was sent along with Kyanzittha. But on their way to Pagan Kyanzittha misbehaved with the princess. The matter was reported to Anawrahta who was very furious over Kyanzittha's behaviour. The King struck him with his spear, but fortunately for Kyanzittha the spear struck the knots of the ropes, and he was thus able to run away from the court. He fled to Sagaing and settled at Kyaungbyu. Here he married a monk's daughter called Thambula, The allied war with chief of Pegu brought an end to Kyanzittha*s war career under the great king Anawrahta.

4. His Religion

This can also be classified into two divisions, viz.,

 (a)His religion before 1056 A.D.
 (b)His religion after 1056 A.D.
Anawrahta and his predecessors had accepted the Ari religion which they found around Pagan after their retreat from Prome in 849 A.D. Like his predecessors Anawrahta also loved the Ari religion and believed in its teachings. He built many temples dedicating them to the spread of the Ari religion. One of these temples was the BAWRITHAT Temple near Meiktila.

But a sudden change came in his religious beliefs in 1056. A monk called Shin Arahan entered his court and began to preach the pure form of Buddhist religion. Anawrahta was much attracted by the preaching of this monk and he accepted the new faith. He also asked the monk to preach this religion throughout his kingdom. But the monk needed the HOLY BOOKS called the TRIPITAKAS. He had come from Thahton and he knew that the chief of Thahton possessed these books. He asked Anawrahta to get these books from the chief of Thahton. This brought the Thahton invasion which finally ended in the capture of Thahton; and thus the Holy books were brought for the preaching at Pagan. The Buddhist religion now spread throughout the kingdom.

Anawrahta desired to make Pagan a great religious centre. He wanted his capital to hold all the religious relics of the Buddhist religion. His enthusiasm to give religious glory to his capital revealed the love and admiration which he had for the Buddhist religion. In his eagerness to gather religious relics he marched into Nanchao and succeeded in getting a jade image which had come into contact with Lord's Tooth. The Nanchao chief however, refused to part with the Lord's Tooth.

Later on Anawrahta received a duplicate of the Lord's Tooth from Bahu I of Ceylon. The chief of Ceylon asked help from him against the raiders from the mainland of India. The Pagan ruler sent his forces but before these could reach Ceylon. Bahu I successfully defeated the Indian raiders. However, the alliance brought a friendship between Anawrahta and Bahu I. There was an exchange of gifts and Anawrahta received the duplicate of Buddha's Tooth. A magnificent ceremony was held at the arrival of the TOOTH. It is said that Anawrahta waded down the stream to receive this rich gift sent by the chief of Ceylon. The ceremony was held at Lokananda, a few miles south of Pagan. The duplicate was placed in a jewelled casket and Anawrahta bore the casket on his head to the shrine.

Anawrahta also built many temples for the spread of this new faith. The best were the Lokananda Temples and the Shwemeddaw and the Shwezigone. The last mentioned temple was left unfinished because of the sudden death of Anawrahta in 1077. While supervising the construction of the Shwezigone Pagoda Anawrahta was informed that a wild buffalo was a menace to a certain village. He harried to kill the buffalo. Unfortunately, the ruler was killed. His son Sawlu then ascended the throne.


1.The Pagan Kingdom was firmly established.
2.The Arakanese, the Shans and the Talaings were brought under submission.
They acknowledged Anawrahta as their OVERLORD, and sent him annual tributes to show their loyalty.
The Pagan Kingdom became very popular.
3.The Buddhist religion was introduced throughout the Kingdom and Pagan became a great religious centre.

SAWLU (1077 A.D TO 1084 A.D)

1.His Ascendancy & his character.
2.His Wars.

1. His Ascendancy

Sawlu was the son of Anawrahta. He was born before his father was able to get the throne from Sokke-Te. Sawlu came to have a foster brother when his father married Pancha Kalyani. Although he was the first son yet he began to envy his brother Kyanzittha because the latter became a very popular figure at the court for his brilliant victories in the wars fought during Anawrahta's reign. Fortunately for Sawlu his foster brother was exiled from Pagan for his wicked behaviour with the princess of Pegu.

From very early days Sawlu spent most of his time with his friend called Yamankan. He was a Taiaing. Much of the time was occupied in playing dice. He failed to inherit the abilities of his father. Neither did he attempt to improve his character and his habit. Even after his accession in 1077 he continued to gamble with his Taiaing friend Yamankan.

2. His Wars

Sawlu was not a warrior and he kept himself away from war. But closer to 1084 he brought a war on his capital which finally led to his death in the same year. While playing a game of dice with Yamankan, Sawlu placed his kingdom at stake for he promised that if he lost the game then Yamankan stood at liberty to lead a rebellion against him. Sawlu lost the game and Yamankan then marched against him with a large Talaing force. The advisors of Sawlu asked him to recall Kyanzittha for help against the marching Talaings. Sawlu invited Kyanzittha but refused to accept the plans directed by the latter as he suspected that his foster brother might play him false in order to snatch the throne from him. Had he only accepted his brother's war-plans then perhaps he might have lived to rule Pagan for a longer period. This neglect by Sawlu led to his defeat and he was captured and taken away by Yamankan. Kyanzittha now made an attempt to rescue his brother from Yamankan's camp. He was very sincere in his task but even here he found that Sawlu distrusted his actions. Kyanzittha entered the Talaing camp and tried to carry away his brother. But Sawlu began to fear that Kyanzittha was trying to get rid of him and he therefore shouted out for help. The presence Kyanzittha was thus revealed to the enemy and he had to flee from the camp. It is said that he had to swim up the Irrawaddy in order to seek safety. He reached Pakokku and here found himself hailed as the ruler of Pagan. Meantime Sawlu had been executed by Yamankan. So began the reign of Kyanzittha in 1084.

KYANZITTHA (1084 A.D TO 1112 A.D)

1.His Ascendancy.
2.His Wars.
3.His Administration.
4.His Religion & the significance of his reign.

1. His Ascendancy

Kyanzittha was the second son of Anawrahta. His mother was an Arakanese princess called Pancha Kalyani. He was born after his father had taken the throne of Pagan from Sokke-Te. Kyanzittha was of royal birth. He inherited features of his father's personality and grew up to be a great warrior at his father's court. He won a great deal of popularity in the wars against the Maw Shans. It was quite possible that Anawrahta might have made him his successor because Sawlu lacked the abilities of an able ruler. But unfortunately for him he invited the anger of his father because he misbehaved with Khin U the princess from Pegu. Anawrahta threw his spear at Kyanzittha when the latter was brought to him tied with ropes. The spear helped to cut the knots and Kyanzittha ran away from the court. Thus began Kyanzittha's exile at a Sagaing village called Kyaungbyu. Here he married Thambula, a monk's daughter, and had a son.

Closer to 1084 he received an invitation from his brother Sawlu who was then the ruler of Pagan. Kyanzittha was asked to help Sawlu against the Talaing forces led by Yamankan. He willingly accepted to fight Yamankan and placed his plans before Sawlu. But the latter neglected his advice and soon found himself a prisoner in the hands of Yamankan. Kyanzittha now had an opportunity to take the throne, but he made no such attempt. On the contrary he tried to rescue his brother Sawlu from Yamankan's camp. This action of Kyanzittha reveals his noble character. He was loyal and faithful to his foster-brother, but unfortunately found that Sawlu had always been suspicious of his actions. When he entered Yamankan's camp he found Sawlu shouting out for aid against him. Kyanzittha was then forced to leave Sawlu with Yamankan. He finally took shelter at Pakokku and here to his great surprise found himself hailed as the ruler of Pagan because Sawlu in the meantime had been put to death by Yamankan. Thus began the reign of Kyanzittha in 1084.

2. His Wars

Soon after his accession he had to fight Yamankan who now stood at the gates of Pagan, asking the people to surrender. Kyanzittha fortunately received help from an Ari monk called Shin Popa. The latter agreed to accompany the Burmese forces with his magical powers. He marched ahead showing magical signs to Yamankan's forces. This resulted in the defeat of the Talaing forces. Yamankan was killed while retreating down the Irrawaddy. Thus ended the Talaing rebellion. The Talaings accepted Kyanzittha as their overlord.

His Coronation

Immediately after his victory over the Taiaings, Kyanzittha held his coronation ceremony at Pagan. Shin Arahan the Primate conducted the royal ceremony with the five emblems of crown, sword, sandals, yaktail and the white umbrella. He was then proclaimed as the ruler of the Burmese and the Talaings. The Coronation system was introduced for the first time. It gave an indirect importance to Buddhist religion because it was conducted by the Head Priest or the Primate. It appeared that the latter could now influence the ruler to a considerable extent. Kyanzittha then built a new palace and set up a series of inscriptions mostly in Talaing.

After his coronation Kyanzittha followed a peaceful policy. He tried to consolidate the Kingdom established by his father. There were very few rebellions during his reign. It is possible that the Shans, the Arakanese and Talaings submitted to him quietly as they remembered his early war career, and were therefore afraid of raising any opposition against him. Inspite of his war - abilities Kyanzittha made no attempt to expand his kingdom. It is probable that he understood the need of peaceful years in order to centralise his administration and thus to maintain the integrity of the kingdom for centuries to come. There was only one minor war fought against the chief of South Arakan who often raided the frontiers of the Pagan kingdom. Within a short time the chief of S. Arakan was defeated, and all further opposition was suppressed. The rest of his reign was occupied in giving suitable system of government.

3. His Administrations

He adopted the policy introduced by his father. He maintained the division of his kingdom into a number of districts and sent capable officers to see to the necessary law order, and also to collect the revenue from their respective districts. Like Anawrahta he also tried to improve the irrigational canals and as such help the production of crops. There was peace throughout his kingdom and soon he became a popular and well loved ruler. His sincerity towards his foster-brother brought the love and loyalty of his subjects. He is remembered as one of the great rulers of the Pagan Dynasty.

4. His Religion

Kyanzittha loved his religion very much. Like his father he was eager to do much towards the spread of this faith. He had high aspirations of building temples in order to show his deep admiration for this religion. During his reign many more monks came to seek shelter at his capital. The persecution of followers of the Buddhist faith had increased in India as the religion was almost uprooted from there. Amongst these monks there were eight monks from Orissa. They came to the Pagan palace and related the story of Annanda Temple which stood on the Udagaire Hills of Orissa. Kyanzittha was soon inspired with an ambition of building a similar temple at Pagan. The temple was completed in 1090. It was named ANANDA TEMPLE. This temple continued for centuries to be one of the wonders of Pagan. It possessed a beautiful piece of art in the prayer hall. A huge image of Lord Buddha was fixed in this hall and smaller images of Shin Arahan and Kyanzittha were placed at the Lord's feet.

Kyanzittha also constructed some forty smaller temples such as Payeinma at his birth-place and the Shwedwinnaung at Sagaing, and he also completed the Shwezigone Temple which had been left unfinished by his father. He dedicated six villages to the monasteries, and the most important villages were e.g., Payeinma, Kyaukyit, Kyahkat and Waya, and also donated riches and money to the monasteries. He held many religious ceremonies at his palace and invited his subjects to participate in these.

During his reign he had to face a very difficult problem. He gave his daughter Shwe-ein-the in marriage to Sawyun, the son of his foster-brother Sawlu. As Kyanzittha had no son he declared his grandson. Alaungsithu as his heir apparent. Historians mention that Kyanzittha had declared his grandson as the real ruler. He had said to his people : "Behold your King ! I rule on his behalf." It was sometime after this declaration was made that Thambula arrived at Pagan with her son. Kyanzittha made her his queen and since he had made his grandson his successor, he appointed his son as the titular lord of N. Arakan. He did not given up his promise given to his grandson, and Alaungsithu succeeded him after his death in 1112.


1.The Pagan Kingdom was consolidated by his peaceful policy.
2.. There was religious enthusiasm throughout his Kingdom.

ALAUNGSITHU (1112 TO 1167)

1.His Ascendancy.
2.His Wars.
1.His Administration.
2.His Religion & significance of his reign.

1. His Ascendancy

Alaungsithu was the grandson of Kyanzittha. He was the son of Shwe-in-the and Sawvun. While a child he was declared as the king by his grand father. Alaungsithu ascended the throne in 1112. He had to face a small rebellion at his capital, but this was successfully crushed. He had two sons, the elder was called Minshinzaw, and the younger son was named Narethu.

2. His Wars

From the very beginning of his reign Alaungsithu wras very fond of travelling to foreign countries. It is said that he visited Malaya the Isles of Arakan and Bengal in India. His absence from the capital resulted in a series of rebellions. He was often involved in the suppression of these rebellions. Apart from these Alaungsithu made no offensive wars. Like his father he was also a peace-loving ruler. He had to suppress three rebellions, viz*

a.South Arakan 1114.
b.Tenasserim 1115.
c.. North Arakan 1118.

(a) South Arakan

1114 Thetminkadon the chief of South Arakan had been defeated by Kyanzittha. He now began to raid the frontiers of the Pagan kingdom in order to avenge his last defeat in the reign of Kyanzittha. In 1114 Alaungsithu defeated him and had him executed. It is said that the Mahagiri spirit visited Alaungsithu in his dream and blamed him for the execution of Thetminkadon. Thereupon Alaungsithu begged pardon of the head and placed it in a jewelled box on top of Tuywin hill, where people were allowed to hold annual feast in honour of the dead chief.

(b) Tenasserim

1115 Alaungsithu had also to suppress rebellion in the Tenasserim. He was successful in this battle also. The Talaings placed no further opposition during his reign.

(c) N. Arakan (1118)

The chief of N. Arakan had been driven out by a usurper. The former took shelter in the forests and then sent his son Letyaminnon to Alaungsithu's court to request him for help against the usurper. Letyaminnon came to the Pagan court dressed in peculiar fashion in order to attract the King's attention. Alaungsithu was having a hair-washing ceremony. He was much displeased with Letyaminnon's appearance. He summoned him, and Letyaminnon stood before the king and related his sad story. Alaungsithu accepted to help him. The usurper was defeated and the throne was restored to Letyaminnon and his father.

Letyaminnon accepted the Pagan ruler as his overlord and in gratitude rendered his thanks by repairing the shrine at Buddhagaya.

From 1118 till 1167 Alaungsithu made no other war. He gave peaceful years to his people and thus left his kingdom more united and better governed.

3. His Administration

Alaungsithu proved to be a wise ruler. He is remembered as one of the best statesmen of the Pagan Dynasty. His peaceful policy enabled him to give much of his time to the administration of his kingdom. He continued the system of keeping his kingdom divided into a number of districts and sent capable officers to see to the necessary administration. Like his predecessors he took great interest in the construction of canals for the irrigation of crops. He also repaired the Meiktila Lake. There was much food crop and his subjects were happy and loved him for the improvements he had made. He also introduced certain weights and measures which were then considered as standard weights throughout his kingdom. These were the tical and the basket measures. Alaungsithu also compiled a series of laws. These were the first laws introduced and were later collected into a book called Alaungsithu Pyatton.

4. His Religion

Like his forefathers Alaungsithu was also a great worshipper of the Buddhist religion. There is a fable attached to the temples which were erected by him. It is said that during one of his travels he reached the Zambuthabyebin, the fabulous Rose Apple Gardens, and here he met Thayamin the Lord of Spirits and from him he received the Holy Wood. Alaungsithu made five images out of this wood and placed them in five Pagodas, four of which were built at Pakkangyu in Pakokku district and the fifth one in Shwebo district. The sites for these temples were located by the wandering of the white elephant or by the flight of birds. He also rebuilt Kyaungdawya in Minbu district. In 1144 he built one of the best pagodas at Pagan and called it the Thatpyinnyu Temple. Close to this temple he also built the Shwegu Temple. On the walls of these temples this great monarch of the Pagan Dynasty wrote out inscriptions in Pali. He asked Letyaminnon to repair the Buddhagaya temple in Bengal Later he sent his monks to that temple to write out inscriptions in Pali indicating the power of the Pagan Rulers. Earlier in 1115 he sent an embassy to the chief of Nanchao offering him gold, silver, flowers and elephant tusks. He hoped to receive the Lord's tooth in return for this token of friendship. Like Anawrahta he was also eager to collect many religious relics for his capital. But the Chief of Nanchao refused to part with the tooth. Records indicate that Alaungsithu also visited Nanchao for the Lord's Tooth. Immediately after his return from Nanchao Shin Arahan the Primate died. Alaungsithu wanted to continue the system of having a head priest at his capital. He therefore requested Panthagu to take the place.

Towards the end of his reign Alaungsithu married a very young princess. She was the daughter of the Chief of Pateikkaya. One day Minshinzaw entered his father's chamber to pay him his homage. He was much displeased with the behaviour of his step-mother. In anger he spoke out wrathful words to the queen. This annoyed the king and he immediately had Minshinzaw arrested and ordered him to be executed. But the advisers of Alaungsithu appealed for the life of the young prince. Their appeal was granted and Minshinzaw was then exiled to live at Htuntonputet, a village east of Mandalay. Here he ruled in proper state. He also built temples one of which was the Shwekyimin Pagoda. He constructed the Aungbinle and the Tamokso Lakes together with large irrigational canals.

After the exile of Minshinzaw, Narethu became the Crown Prince of Pagan. He was happy over the exile of his brother, and he now awaited his father's death in order to get the throne. In 1167 Alaungsithu fell sick. Narethu had him removed to the temple at the palace, and soon seized the throne. He was convinced that his father was nearing his death. But to his great surprise the calm and serene atmosphere of the temple enabled the king to recover. Narethu was now afraid to face his father's anger. He therefore decided to murder him. He entered the temple and strangled his father to death. Thus ended the reign of Alaungsithu in 1167. Narethu then ascended the throne.


1.The Kingdom was further consolidated.
2.Religious enthusiasm continued.
2.Alaungsithu Pyatton and weights & measures.

NARETHU (1167 TO 1170)

Narethu was the son of Alaungsithu. He became the Crown Prince after the exile of his elder brother Minshinzaw. In 1167 he ascended the throne after having murdered his father while the latter lay on his sick-bed. Perhaps Narethu believed that, killing a dying and aged man was no sin.

The news of this evil action rapidly spread throughout his kingdom. It reached Minshinzaw as well. He was determined to avenge his father's death and therefore marched towards Pagan in order to punish Narethu for his wicked action. While Minshinzaw was on his way to Pagan, Narethu had to face many difficulties at his palace. Panthagu, the Primate, insisted on leaving Pagan because he did not wish to live with a murderer. But Narethu agree to alone for his sins and begged Panthagu to make peace between him and his brother. He also promised to give the crown to Minshinzaw. The Primate took him to be sincere in his words, and he thereupon went to Minshinzaw and requested him to forgive Narethu. Minshinzaw agreed and he was brought to the capital, and here he was given the throne. Narethu offered the crown in a very ceremonious manner. People began to feel that Narethu was repenting his action. But the same night Minshinzaw was poisoned to death. The next day Narethu took the throne. The Primate immediately sailed away to Ceylon. The subjects at the capital and at the palace began to keep away from the king. Narethu tried to bring his subjects under obedience by throwing fear in to them. He carried out a series of executions and even had his step-mother the Princess of Pateikkaya put to death. This made the people shun him more. At last Narethu realised his sins and he began to find solace in the temples. He built another great temple similar to the Ananda Temple, and named it the Dammayon Temple. It is believed that the king spent many hours in this temple asking forgiveness from the Lord. In 1170 he was murdered by men sent by the chief of Pateikkaya.

With Narethu began the gradual decay of the Pagan Kingdom. During his reign the religious ceremonies held at the palace almost faded away. He left two sons called Naratheinkha and Narapatisithu. The former was the elder and he therefore ascended the throne in 1170.


He was the elder son of Narethu. He succeeded his tather in 1170. He had short reign of only three years. While his brother Narapathisithu was away suppressing one of the rebellions Naratheinkha married his brother's wife called Veluvati and made her his queen. When Narapatisithu heard of his marriage he sent 80 of his men to kill the king. Naratheinkha was put to death and Narapatisithu then took the throne.


1.His Ascendancy.
2.His Administration & his Wars.
3.His Religion.

1. His Ascendancy

Narapatisithu was the second son of Narethu. His elder brother called Naratheinkha married his wife Veluváti while he was away from the palace. This made Narapatisithu very furious. He thereupon sent eighty of his men and had his brother put to death. In 1173 Narapatisithu ascended the throne.

2. His Administration

He was a peace-loving king. He led a peaceful policy and thus devoted his entire time towards the improvement of his kingdom. He found a wise minister in Anantsuriya and with the latter’s help various improvements were made in the administration of the country. The GUARD SYSTEM was introduced for the first time. He knew that his father and his brother were easily put to death because they had no such guards ready at hand to protect them. Narapatisithu therefore placed a standing army called the PALACE GUARDS for the protection of the palace. He also kept a standing army to be summoned in war time. Apart from this he sent soldiers to the frontier outposts to protect his kingdom. As a result of this new arrangement there were hardly any rebellions. Anaritsuriya also helped to introduce the OATH BOOK which is still used in the law courts throughout the country. Improvements were also made towards the irrigation of crops. The subjects were happy and well contented. The kingdom began to prosper.

3. His Wars

The reign of Narapatisithu hi-ought the revival of Buddhist religion in the kingdom. All the religious ceremonies received new life, and all the glories of the past were once again visible at the capital. Immediately after his accession Narapatisithu requested Panthagu to return to Pagan. The Primate came back, but he did not live long. He died in 1180. Narapatisithu then asked another monk called Uttrajiva to take the place of the Primate. He was a Talaing monk. He had won much fame by his pilgrimage to Ceylon and had received the title called the First Pilgrim of Ceylon. During his visit to Ceylon he left a monk called Chapata to continue his religious studies. The latter completed his studies in 1190 and he then returned to Pagan in the same year. He was given the title of “The Second Pilgrim of Ceylon.” Chapata brought four other learned monks from Ceylon, and they were also welcomed to stay at the palace by the king. The King allowed Chapata and his four monks to settle at a place just north of Pagan. He also helped to built the CHAPATA PAGODA at Nyaung-U. This temple was constructed in the Singhalese style. The King was impressed by the foreign teachings of the monks. He now encouraged monks to go to Ceylon for further ordination.

After some years there arose certain disagreements between Uttrajiva and Chapata. Chapata refused to perform the duties of his ORDER with the BURMESE CLERGY and in 1192 the King then allowed him t set up a new ORDER based on the teachings of Ceylon. This ORDER, came to be called the LATTER ORDER, while the teachings of Shin Arahan and other monks from Thaton continued to be known at the FORMER ORDER. The reign of Narapatisithu is remembered for the introduction of the new ORDER based on the teaching of Ceylon.

Like Anawrahta, he took great interest in the construction of the temples at various places. His greatest works are the Gawdawpalin and the Sulaiman Temples at Pagan. He also built the Minnalaunggyaung. Demmayazika, and the Chaukpala. Temples around Pagan. His other temples built at Shwebo, Mergui and other places were of smaller size, but these temples indicate the extent of his reign. He built the Myatheindan and the Shwedaw Temples in the district of Thayetmyo, the Shwetaza temple at Shwebo, the Zetawan in Mergui, and the Shwe-in-dein near Yawnghwe in the Shan States. There was also another temple called the Shwebinsagyo in Myingyan district.

Narapatisithu died in 1210. He left five sons and on his death-bed he advised them to remain united. He left the crown to his son called Zeyatheinkha who was latter called Htilominlo.


1.Religious Revival LATTER & THE FORMER ORDER (Pagodas)
2.Guard System and the OATH BOOK.

HTILOMINLO (1210 TO 1234)

He was the son of Narapatisithu. He was also called Zeyatheinkha. He succeeded his father in 1210. He carried out his father’s wish of keeping united with his remaining four brothers. He respected his father’s instructions which were given by him while he lay on his death bed. Htilominlo invited his four brothers to help him to govern the kingdom with justice and mercy. They met daily to see to the administration. This led to the introduction of the HLUTTAWYON or the Council of Advisers, it is believed that such a body had existed from very early years, but it was only in Htilominlo’s reign that !his Council received its definite shape and it became an important feature of the King’s court. The Council was firmly established and this system continued till 1885. The King took his able advisers to form the Hiuttaw and he respected the decisions made at the Hiuttaw meetings. But the Hiuttaw system failed to become a constitution because the power of veto remained merely NOMINEES of the King. They were appointed and dismissed by the king. But every good ruler allowed certain amount of privileges to his Councjllors arid never tried to over rule their decisions.

Htilominlo was succeeded by his son Kyaswa in 1234.


1.The Hiuttaw Yon.

KYASWA (1234 TO 1250)

He was the son of Htilominlo. He continued the Hluttaw policy of his father. He was a very religious and pious ruler. He devoted most of his time in writing devotional articles and distributed these to his subjects. He left the throne to his son Uzana in 1250. His reign is remembered for his efforts made towards the revival of Buddhist religion.

UZANA (1250 TO 1254)

Uzana succeeded his father Kyaswa in 1250. He had a very short reign. Uzana was a pleasure loving king and he spent most of his time in hunting. It was during one of these hunting trips in 1254 that he was killed through an accident.

Uzana proved to be a weak ruler. He left the details of the administration to his minister called Yazathinkyan. The latter grew jealous of the crown prince called Thingathu. He knew the abilities of the prince and was sure that the latter would prove to be a powerful ruler after Uzana’s death. This was detrimental to the interests ofYazathinkyan. He wanted to remain in power and therefore desired to get rid of the Prince. He now waited to overthrow Thingathu, and so decided to have the throne given to the second prince called Narathihapate. Perhaps Yazathinkyan felt that since Narathihapate was young he would naturally receive the opportunity to rule for a longer period.

He was finally successful in his plan. One day Thingathu came walking behind the minister, and having received no proper salute from him the prince became very furious and he spat on the minister’s sleeve. The latter spoke nothing. He came back to the Council meeting and held up the soiled jacket before them. At his bidding they decided that a man who while yet a prince behaved like this to his elders would be unbearable as a king. It was therefore decided that the crown should pass to Narathihapate.


1.His Ascendancy.
2.His Wars.
3.His Religion.
4.Events leading to the downfall of his kingdom.

1. His Ascendancy:

Narathihapate was the second son of Uzana. He became the ruler because his elder brother Thingathu was removed from the throne by Yazathinkyan. Narathihapate was only 16 when he ascended the throne. The minister thought that the prince would remain grateful to him for placing him as the successor of Uzana. He expected to be the power behind the king, and thought that he would be able to pull the Strings of government for years to come. But he was sadly disappointed. The young king grew determined to do as he liked. Yazathinkyan tried to threaten him but it proved to be fruitless. The king immediately called him to Dalla.

2. His Wars.

Soon after the exile of Yazathinkyan rebellions broke out in many places. The two rebellions were started by the chief of Martaban and Macchagin Yazathinkyan was recalled from Dalla and the rebellions were successfully crushed. Immediately after the suppression of these rebellions Yazathinkyan died.

From 1277 to 1287 Narathihapate had to make two wars against the Tartars and the people of Yunnan. These wars finally led to the downfall of the Pagan Kingdom.

3. His Religion.

Narathihapate was also a great worshipper of the Buddhist religion. Like his forefathers he was also interested in building temples. Towards the end of his reign he built the MINGLAZEDI TEMPLE. While it was being built a rumour began to spread throughout the country that the kingdom would be destroyed as soon as the construction was completed. At first the king stopped the construction but later had it finished because the Primate said to the King that all things in the world were subject to the Law of THINKAYA.

4. Events leading to the downfall of his kingdom.

In 1253 there was a Tartar invasion under Kublai Khan right across Asia reaching the China Sea. This Tartar invasion was later felt in Burma as soon as Nanchao was conquered by Kublai Khan in 1271. Nanchao had always received tributes from the rulers of Pagan ever since Anawrahta’s time. In 1273 Narathihapate received the news of the submission of Nanchao to a foreign rule. He then decided to stop the annual tributes. The chief of Nanchao was much displeased and he reported the matter to Kublai Khan. Kublai Khan tried to ease the relations between Narathihapate and the Chief of Nanchao. He sent his ambassador to Pagan in order to clear the differences between Nanchao and Pagan.

The ambassador sent by Kublai Khan was ignorant of the court manners at Pagan and he unknowingly invited the anger of the Pagan ruler. Narathihapate showed no mercy, and without reporting the matter to the Tartar Chief he had the ambassador put to death. This action of Narathihapate later served as the major cause for war between the Tartars and the Burmese. The Pagan ruler marched into Nanchao as he was angry with the chief because he had invited the help of the Tartar chief against him. The chief of Nanchao bad now to seek aid from Kublaj Khan. The allied forces then marched towards the frontiers of Burma. The opposing forces met in a furious battle at N.GASAUNGGYAN in 1277. Narathihapate had then to rush back to his capital in order to strengthen his forces. The battle of Nagasaunggyan ended the first phase of the war. It was an easy victory’ for the Tartars as they had many advantages. The Allied forces were under the able command of Nassiruddin. Moreover, they had the use of swift horses which brought them close to their enemies within a short time. In addition the Tartars were good archers and had therefore the advantage of hitting the Burmese how dahs from a great distance. On the other hand the Burmese forces had only the use of spears and dahs, and to use these against the Tartars they had to move close to their enemies. But before they could approach the Tartars, the latter would finish them with their arrows.

Narathihapate attacked Nanchao again in 1283. He wanted to avenge his last defeat. Unfortunately, for the Burmese forces the Chief of Nanchao again received help from the Tartars. Once again Narathihapate had to face defeat. He rushed back to his capital and immediately built forts along the northern and eastern frontiers of his kingdom. His councilors advised him to remove the capital to Dalla in the Delta so as to make better preparations for War against their enemies if they happened to cross the frontiers. Narathihapate agreed to this advice and soon the entire court shifted to Dalla.

But when they reached the delta he found the people in open revolt against him. His sons who had received ill treatment at his hands wanted to take advantage. Under these circumstances the Pagan ruler decided to compromise with the chief of Nanchao. The latter sent him a favorable answer and Narathihapate thereupon decided to return to Pagan. But while on his way to Pagan he was surrounded by his sons and they forced him to drink poison. Thus ended the reign of Narathihapate in 1287.

The Nanchao Government immediately took advantage of this sudden death of Narathihapate. In the same year the Chinese and the Shans invaded Pagan and defeated the Burmese. This invasion broke up the Pagan Kingdom into a number of small states under Chinese rule. The successors of Narathihapate were however allowed to rule over Pagan and also over the country lying between Pagan and Prome. In 1298 the successor of Narathihapate was deposed by a Shan family which had become powerful over a neighboring state called Myinsaing. Thus ended the Pagan Kingdom established by Anawrahta.


The Shans and the Chinese invaded the Pagan Kingdom immediately after the death of Narathihapate in 1287. The successors of Narathihapate were easily defeated and they were forced to accept the terms given by the Chinese were allowed to retain Pagan and also the country lying between Pagan and Prome. But the rest of the kingdom was annexed by the Chinese and gradually this kingdom was divided into smaller states. The Chinese appointed Shan officers to see to the administration of the country. As a result many Shan families migrated into Pagan and also to the Delta. Thus slowly the Shan influence began to spread throughout Burma.

Close to 1298 there arose five major states viz: Hsenwi, Mohnyin, Kenhaung, Myinsaing and Martaban. These were under the direct rule of the Shan officers or Chiefs with a Chinese Viceroy to govern them.

Out of these five states Myinsaing became the most powerful. In 1298 the chief of Myinsaing received a marriage alliance from the chief of Pagan. In the same year the former chief took advantage of this alliance. He deposed the ruler of Pagan and annexed it. Later the country between Pagan and Prome was also annexed. Thus ended the Pagan Kingdom.

The Chinese tried to suppress the rising power of Myinsaing. In 1300 the Shans united together and they drove out the Chinese beyond the frontiers of Burma. Chinese rule in Burma came to an end. The Shans now became all powerful throughout Burma as far as delta in the south. In time to come they slowly migrated in the Tenasserim also, and gave their influence over the Talaings as well. The Kingdom of Myinsaing took the shape of the Ava kingdom, while in the delta another kingdom was created in the south where the Shans were beginning to adopt the Talaing customs. While these changes were taking place a third kingdom was formed around the Fort of TOUN000. The Burmese from the north and from Pagan disliked the rule of the Shans. They therefore moved out eastwards and settled at a fort which was named TOUNGOO. This small fort later became the foundation for the Second and the Third Burmese Kingdoms.


1.The Pagan Dynasty is also known as the Dynasty of TEMPLE. BUILDERS. Explain this statement carefully.
2.Describe the reign of any one of the following rulers Anawrahta, Kyanzittha, Alaungsithu, Narapathisithu.
3.Draw a map of Burma to show the condition of Burma after the fall of Pagan in 1287.
4.Give in detail the events which led to the downfall of the Pagan Kingdom.
5.Explain the condition of Burma after the defeat of Narathihapate’s successors in 1287.
6.Add notes to the fol1owing Ananda Temple, Hluttaw. Yon, Aanthagu, Yazathinkyan, Minshinzaw, Alaungsithu, Pyatton.
7.Answer the following questions briefly.
 a.In what ways was Narethu a bad king?
 b.How did Cingalese Buddhism influence Pagan in Narapthisithu’s reign?
 c.Explain the FORMER and the LATTER ORDER of Buddhism?
 d.What is the Hiuttaw You? How did it work? Who was its founder?
 e.Under what circumstances did Narathihapate ascend the throne? Why was Yazathinkyan exiled?
 f.Why did the Tartars wage war against the Ruler of Pagan? What was its results?
 g.What became of Pagan after the fall of the Pagan Dynasty?
8.Write an essay on SHINARAHAN, the first Primate.

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