On the dirt road 500ft east towards the dominating Thatbyinnyu, the Pahtothamya (or Thamya Pahto) was probably built during the reign of Kyanzittha, around the turn of the 12th century, although it is popularly held to be one of five temples built by the little-known King Taunghthugyi (aka Sawrahan; r 931–64). In its prominent vertical superstructure and reconstructed lotus-bud sikhara (corn-cob-like temple finial), however, the monument is clearly beginning to move forward from the early period.

The interior of this single-storey building is dimly lit, typical of the early type of Pyu-influenced temples, with their small, perforated stone windows. With a torch you can pick out vestiges of ancient murals along the interior passages, perhaps the earliest surviving paintings in Bagan. Steps lead up to a roomy viewing platform.

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Nearby Bagan attractions

1. Mimalaung Kyaung

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2. Nathlaung Kyaung

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Between Pahtothamya and Thatbyinnyu, this stubby building – the only Hindu temple remaining in Bagan – has a fascinating history. Named ‘Shrine Confining…

3. Thatbyinnyu Pahto

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4. Shwegugyi

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Built by Alaungsithu in 1131, this smaller but elegant pahto (temple), 650ft north of Thatbyinnyu, is an example of Bagan’s middle period of temple…

5. Archaeological Museum

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6. Gawdawpalin Pahto

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7. Pitaka Taik

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8. Mahabodhi Paya

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