KING KYAN SIT THA'S PALACE
Bagan was born on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River in the central part of present day Myanmar. The powerful City-State rose on the east bank of the Ayeyarwady River in the 9th century and was the birthplace of modern day Myanmar State and Theravada Buddhism.
A traditional verse says "Kya Oh An Bagan Ti(which if transposed into numerals corresponds to the date of the establishment of the Bagan Empire).There were many kings that reigned there. Legends tell us that there were 55 Kings who ruled in Bagan but recorded history began only after the reign of King Anawrahta(1044-1077 A.D) who consolidated his kingdom into one of the most powerful city-states of that time. Bagan retreated into history after King Narathihapati (Tayoke Pye Min) fled the capital with the onslaught of the Mongols in 1287 A.D.
In the Niddesa Parabeik (a loosely binded book made of palm leaves on which the ancients record significant occasions) it was recorded that Arimaddanapura or Pauk kan Pyi gyi(the traditional name of Bagan) was established by King Pyinbya in 849 A.D, and referred to two palace sites inside the walled city. The palace of Pinbya Min was located at 144 Ta(a traditional Myanmar measure of distance) to the west of the Tharaba Gate. The Parabeik also recorded that King Kyan Sit Tha(1084-1112 A.D), who assumed the crown afterAnawrahta, also started a palace for himself in 1101 A.D and it took a year to finish it. On completion of his palace the King set up four stone inscription pillars to record his deed but with the passage of time the inscriptions were broken into pieces. Miraculously, however, all the pieces were recovered from near the Tharaba Gate and are now housed inside the Bagan Museum.
Starting from 2003, the Myanmar Archaeological Department had began excavations at the Bagan Palace site. Altogether 16 squares have been unearthed. The excavations also unearthed large systematically built structures made of brick and one small brick structure of 85 metres aligned north to south. One 40 metres long brick wall stretching from east to west two brick walls, brick floor, brick gutter and brick circles were also unearthed. There were many rows of such brick circles, each circle with smaller circles adjacent to it. Regrettably nothing was found of the Palace itself except for numerous earthen bowls,potsherds,glazed potsherds, earthen pots, terracotta discs, iron swords, brass rings and other assorted artefacts.
Architects have been able to reconstruct the layout of the Palace and construct a prototype based on the excavated physical evidence. The reconstructed Palace is now open to visitors.
Acknowledgement: Thanks are due to U Khin Aung Htun, and the G.M of Tharaba Gate Hotel for the basic information and photos.