U Nar Auk’s architectural legacy preserved in Kayin State

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Religious buildings donated by U Nar Auk in Kayin State.

The Kawhnat Monastery Heritage Trust safeguards the religious buildings commissioned by the Mon national tycoon, U Nar Auk, maintaining the integrity of the original works in Kawhnat Village, Hpa-an Township, Kayin State. These structures showcase a blend of architectural styles from the late Konbaung era, India, China, and Europe.
Trustee U Min Maung Nwe stated, “U Nar Auk funded the construction of this monastery. The Mahavijiya Ordination Hall and the Dipankara Prayer Hall showcase marvellous architectural masterpieces. The prayer hall’s ceiling boasts intricate glass mosaic flower patterns crafted by Chinese architects alongside relief sculptures sculpted by Myanmar artisans using teak. The windows in the ceiling are inspired by the early colonial-era India-European style.”
The prayer hall has a history of 137 years, while the ordination hall stands at 116 years old. The religious buildings, commissioned by U Nar Auk, are renowned for their exemplary designs and continue to captivate curious visitors to this day.
The tycoon enlisted artisans from Mandalay to design the prayer hall with a 12-tiered steeple. The inside wall features sculptures depicting the life of Gautama Buddha, from His birth to the sharing of His remaining relics after His passing. Additionally, the prayer hall houses sculptures that portray the lives of Kings Manuha, Anawrahta, and Kyansittha.
The prayer hall’s rich architectural heritage is further enhanced by two 20-foot-tall standing Buddha statues, each carved from a single teak tree.
The reliefs, ceilings, walls, doors and columns are ornamented with gilded glass mosaics. The rare gold-leaf paintings in the hall are exceedingly magnificent.
To reach Kawhnat Village, visitor follow the Hpa-an-Zathapyin-Mawlamyine road and make a right turn after travelling approximately 15 miles. They can look for the sign indicating “To U Nar Auk Pagoda” at the junction. — ASH/NT

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