Time running out for restoration of century old Dawei monastery

A century old Dawei monastery.  Photo: Myitmakha News Agency
A century old Dawei monastery. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency

ABBOTS from the Shwe Kyaung Gyi monastery, located in Taninthayi regional town of Dawei, have expressed the need for timely restoration efforts to be made to a century old building within the monastery compound before it is completely destoryed.
The Shwe Kyaung Gyi monastery was built during the Buddhist calender year of 1126 to service the Shin Oo Aw pagoda. Upon the previous monastery’s destruction, a new one which stands on the site today was built and named Shwe Kyaung Gyi.
“The building is over a century old. Nobody can reside within it in its current state of dilapidation. Termites have eaten away the legs of the building to the point whereby the monastery building is folding in on itself. The monks who reside in the monastery tend to the building, carrying out small scale maintenance and restoration work as much as their limited capacity will allow.” proclaimed abbot Ariyawuntha of Shwe Kyaung Gyi monastery.
The abbot continued to explain the desire of the monks residing in the monastery for the regional government to conduct field visits and carry out restoration on the extremely rare ancient Dawei building as they themselves are not in a financial position to be able to undertake such an project, nor do they have any donors who would be able to assist.
“Our department has a plan to make an inventory of all ancient buildings in the region. But, just as our Taninthayi Region office hasn’t long be open, we have only a small workforce which hasn’t yet allowed us to carry out such a task. Should our investigations find them to really be ancient buildings, then we will make a submission to regional government for their restoration.” said U Tin Maung Htway, assistant director of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library for the Tanintharyi Region. Town elders of Dawei have expressed the aforementioned building is a priceless piece of ancient heritage to Dawei people and that the original handiwork of the building should not be lost. Attempts to restore the building need to be carried out in a timely manner though, as elders speculate the building could fall into disrepair within the next three years.

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