Sula Mani quite literally translates into the Jewel in the Crown. This exquisite temple was one of those that I most wanted to see. It is said that this late-12th century temple combines the best aspects of the Dhammayangyi and the Thatbyinnyu temples. So it was a big disappointment when we arrived there to see that the recent earthquake had so badly damaged it that it was completely off-bounds to anyone. In the featured photo you see a big sign and the plastic wrapping to prevent bricks from falling.
What we could see from the outside was remarkable. The Family and I inspected the external mouldings such as the one you can see in this photo. The temple was built to the order of Narapati Sithu (king Sithu) at the height of the Bagan period of Burma’s history. These mouldings are a good indication of how beautiful the temple could be.
We pushed a little at the instructions posted for tourists. They said that it is unsafe to climb on to the porch: perhaps some of the bricks could fall. We saw that the plastic sheets wrapped around the damaged spire of the temple were quite comprehensive and ventured as close as we could. In the massive eastern entry arch we found this mural: damaged but still impressive. We couldn’t explore more: everything was cordoned off. The Family and I loved Bagan, and realized that one can easily spend a week there. If we go back in a few years this temple will be on the top of our list. The crowning jewel, how can one not visit it again?