If visitors who arrive in Mrauk U of Rakhine State, Western Myanmar, should not miss Htukkanthein, the reputed temple in the ancient Arakanese city, on a small hill near the Shite-thaung Temple.
Most Buddhist temples in Mrauk U are designed to be both fortress and temple, so is Htukkanthein. Although it is an Ordination Hall, it is also the militaristic building on the higher land with a single entrance and small windows. People believe that the temple served for the Buddhist religious followers to shelter in war.
Built in 1571 by King Min Phalaung whose reign brought prosperity and expansion of the Mrauk U Empire. On the top of t the temple’s centre is a dome in a mushroom shape with smaller stupas at the corners. A square window was designed in front of the dome to get the sun lights directly onto the main Buddha image inside the central vault. Visitors can enter a small meditation chamber at the west side only by passing the main temple.
The structure is surrounded on all sides by massive stone walls. Stairways on the East and South side lead to the temple, the East one being the main entrance. Totally, the temple owns 180 Buddha images in niches (179 smaller ones along the corridors, and the big one at the central vaulted chamber). On niches’ sides are carved with male and female figures representing the donors who supported the construction of the temple.