The Dhamma Hall


Adjoining Sitagu Shwezigon Pagoda stands tall the Grand Dhamma Hall, with its traditional Burmese three-stepped Zetawun roof. The traditional height of the layered roof has been scaled down so as not to obstruct the panoramic vista of, and thereby compete with the elegance of, the adjacent Sitagu Shwezigon Pagoda. Along with the roof canopy over the entry way to the Pagoda, the three-stepped-roofed Zetawun architectural design can be admired from the west terrace of the Pagoda.

At the southern top of the Grand Dhamma Hall, the customary multi-tiered-roofed pavilion pleases discerning eyes and inquisitive minds. On the very top of the pavilion, the gold-plated umbrella replica from the Bagan era will be topped by the auspicious vessel, rather than the more common ornament with fascia artwork from the Ava and Kungbaung eras.

Especially striking, the exterior and interior decor for Sitagu Shwezigon and Grand Dhamma Hall is furnished with many early Bagan-era paintings, carvings, hollowed lacquer wares, jewelry, banisters, masonry arts, detailed cultural artworks from eras spanning from the father-to-son succession of kings Anuruddha – Kyansitthar - Alaung Sithu - Narapati Sithu.

Inside Dhamma Hall

The floor of the Grand Dhamma Hall has three levels: the highest for the Buddha Statues, the middle for seating the Sangha and the lower for seating the laity. This Buddha statue sanctified on the highest level is very rare selected for replication from over 4,000 temples in Bagan. This well-known pure-gold and hollowed lacquer-adorned statue depicts the Buddha in sitting position during the rains retreat (Waso) in Palilayaka Forest. The throne, backdrop, corner decorations, headpiece, columns and surrounding diamond-shaped woodwork is hand-crafted according to Bagan-era style and carved out of Burmese teak.

Of particular interest, above the windows of the three walls are many paintings and wall murals, depicting a series of encounters between the Bodhisatta and the eons of past buddhas, beginning with Dipinkara Buddha predicting furture buddhahood for the hermit Sumedha, and ending with Sakyamuni's passing into Nibbana and the distribution of his relics. Similarly, on the ceiling images depict the four great events of the Buddha's life, Bagan-era lotus flowers, lotus artwork, hamsa and, karavika birds, fowl, devas and brahmas in an original Bagan mural style.