On the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, Old Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)Prices
Included in the Bagan Archeaological Zone ticket (25 000 kyats ~ $20)Opening hours
08:00 am - 05:00 pm.
Bu Paya (Bupaya pagoda, Buphaya pagoda, Bu Phaya, Bupaya phaya) is located on the bank of the Ayeyawady River, in the north-west direction of the city wall of Bagan. It is traditionally opined that Bu Paya was built in A.D 3rd century by King Pyusaw Hti. The shape of the pagoda is typically Pyu. In the Pyu Period of Myanmar history, pagodas were built in cylindrical form with no decoration of art work.
Bupaya means the "a gourd shape pagoda". The legend says, the third king of Bagan, Pyusawhti (AD 162-243), got rid of the gourd-like climbing plant "bu" that infested the riverbanks, before becoming the king. He was rewarded by his predecessor, Thamuddarit, the founder of Bagan (AD 108) together with the hand of his daughter and the heir to the throne of Bagan. He then in the commemoration of his good luck built a gourd-shaped pagoda on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. This cylindrical Pyu-style stupa is said to be the oldest in Bagan. Bupaya was completely destroyed when it tumbled into the river in the 1975 earthquake, but has since been totally rebuilt. The distinctively shaped bulbous stupa stands above rows of crenellated terraces. The view from the river is also a breath-taking one.
In Bagan, before the bell shaped pagodas came into fashion, Pyu type pagodas were quite common. Besides Bu Paya, Nga Kywe Na Daung, Pauk Pin Ya and Htoo Pa Lay Su Tan Pagodas on the north of Thiri Pyit Saya village are of Pyu type.
The above mentioned pagodas resemble in design Bei Bei Gyi, Paya Gyi, Paya Mar pagodas at an old Pyu capital Thaye Khit Taya in Pyay (near Hmaw za village). They are ancient zedis of A.D 11th century, predating King Anawrahta's time.
The earthquake of 1975 toppled it down sparing only its base platform. During its reconstruction, the base platform was excavated. A statue of Avalokestra deva (the Bodithat) and some votive terra cotta tablets bearing prints of the Buddha in abaya mudra (no danger gesture with two hands stretched out in the posture of preventing danger) were discovered. They are on display at the Archaeological Museum, Bagan.These artifacts belong to the Pyu period, confirming the traditional opinion that Bu Paya was King Pyu Saw Hti's dedication.