Pa Khan Gyi • Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery - Teak & Faith

Located in the small town of Pa Khan Gyi, roughly a hundred kilometers from Monywa and slightly more from Mandalay, the Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery stands as a remarkable example of traditional Burmese teakwood architecture. Established in the latter half of the 19th century and restored in 1992, this Buddhist sanctuary showcases intricate woodwork and craftsmanship. The monastery's unique structural features include its 254 massive teakwood pillars, with diameters ranging from 1.3 to 2.3 meters. Not just an architectural marvel, the monastery also serves as a tranquil space for spiritual reflection. While it is among several wooden monasteries in the Mandalay region, it distinguishes itself through its refined aesthetic and historical significance. The 1992 restoration has further ensured its preservation for future generations.

Pa Khan Gyi • Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery ( Myanmar,  )

Pa Khan Gyi • Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery

Pa Khan Gyi • Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery ( Myanmar,  )

Pa Khan Gyi • Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery

Pa Khan Gyi • Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery ( Myanmar,  )

Pa Khan Gyi • Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery

The Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery in Pa Khan Gyi: A Teakwood Marvel of Myanmar


The Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery in Pa Khan Gyi stands as a monumental feat in Burmese religious architecture. This article aims to delve into its history, architectural brilliance, and its significance in the cultural heritage of Myanmar.


Founding and Construction


Established in the 19th century, the monastery hails from a time when teakwood architecture was undergoing a revival in Myanmar. Constructed mainly from teak—a wood abundant in the region—it represents the craftsmanship of artisans skilled in wood carving and construction. While the exact dates of its first build are not explicitly known, experts agree that this monastery serves as an architectural gem from the era.


Architectural Traits


The building serves as a hallmark example of Burmese monastic architecture. It consists of multiple tiers, all richly adorned with wooden carvings, frescoes, and gold embellishments. Massive teak columns support intricately crafted ceilings, while latticed windows allow light to stream in, creating a peaceful atmosphere conducive to meditation.


Cultural and Religious Significance


The monastery serves not only as a place of worship but also as a center for study and meditation. It holds immense importance for local Buddhist monks seeking teachings and spiritual inspiration. Moreover, it draws numerous pilgrims and tourists eager to admire its architecture and gain insights into Burmese Buddhism.


Historical Anecdotes


It is said that the monastery has survived several fires and undergone multiple renovations throughout its history. Interestingly, despite the country's political turmoil and regime changes, the monastery has continually been preserved and respected by local authorities. This speaks volumes about its cultural and historical importance.




The Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery in Pa Khan Gyi is not just a magnificent example of Burmese architecture but also a witness to the history and culture of Myanmar. Although it is not listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its significance in Myanmar’s cultural and religious heritage cannot be disputed.


In summary, this edifice, both in its architectural grandeur and cultural significance, is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of Myanmar.

Architectural Features of Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery in Pa Khan Gyi, Myanmar

General Structure


The Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery is predominantly constructed from teak wood, a hardwood highly resistant to weathering, accounting for its longevity through the centuries. The building features multiple tiers, which is a common trait among Burmese monasteries from its era.


Decorative Elements


One of the distinguishing features of this monastery is the intricate wooden carvings that adorn ceilings, columns, and even window frames. Floral motifs, mythological animal representations, and scenes from folklore or sacred texts are common themes in these carvings.


Windows and Lighting


The windows of the monastery often incorporate traliewerk, a type of wooden lattice, allowing natural light to flood the space while creating a meditative atmosphere. This represents a fusion of aesthetic design with practical utility, providing a natural source of light for meditation and religious study.


Spatial Use


The monastery is sectioned into various zones designated for different activities, such as meditation, study, and teaching. Smaller rooms are reserved for the living quarters of monks. This division of space reflects the emphasis on community life while also accommodating isolation for spiritual practices.


Building Materials


The preponderance of teak in the construction is not to be underestimated. This material was not only abundant but also highly valued for its properties. The choice of teak for construction indicates a significant investment and reflects the importance of the monastery within the community.


In summary, the Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery in Pa Khan Gyi stands as a remarkable example of Burmese monastic architecture, skillfully blending aesthetics, functionality, and religious symbolism. Its rich decor, wise utilization of space, and choice of materials make it a valuable witness to the architectural history of the region.

Monument profile
Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery
Monument category: Monastery
Monument family: Monastery
Monument genre: Religious
Cultural heritage: Buddhist
Geographic location: Pa Khan Gyi • Myanmar
Construction period: 19th century AD

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The wooden monastery of Pa Khan Gyi • Myanmar