Mrauk U, the last Royal capital of Rakhine ( Arakan ) Kingdoms, founded by King Mong Saw Mon in 1430 forty eight kings ruled over Mrauk-U Kingdom for 354 years. The splendid Mrauk U Kingdom left many historical heritage of the prominent Buddhist religion monuments exit all the corners of villages, hilltops that makes the second richest archeological site in Myanmar after Bagan. The most of temples were built with sand stones, bricks like Ankor from Cambodia, Bawrawbodaw from Indonesia and south India. Some of Hills are amazing points of sunrise and sunset. The outstanding Buddhist monuments one should not miss are the Shitthaung Temple, Radanabon Pagoda, Andaw Thein Temple, Dukkanthein Temple, Lay Myat Hnar Temple, Koe Thaung Temple, Pesi pagoda, Sandamuni Buddha image and monastery, are some of the most archeologically significant sites. The Mrauk U Museum exhibits many of the archeological and cultural treasures found in the area. Mrauk U is today about 148 km ( 3 hours ) by land and 65 km by water northeast of the Sittwe and is accessible by car and by boat from Sittwe. Before Mrauk U other kingdoms existed in the area. They allow for convenient day trips from Mrauk U.
The Shitthaung temple is the most spectacular and most outstanding temple, was built by King Min Bing in 1535 A.D. Shitthaung temple is like fortress-temple to celebrate his re-conquest of 12 Bengal cities. One of the Grandest of all Mrauk U’s monuments and art displayed in its construction and ornamentation are remarkable. Besides, we may observe here about the maze-like layout of this pagoda. In the accounts of this curious plan, some foreigners remarked that the Shitthaung Pagoda was built alike a fortress. The real purpose of the pagoda was for prayer, some rituals of initiation, and some of the King’s ceremonies, which were usually held secretly as well as for the education of Buddhism by studying the Jataka scenes stone relies are masterpiece. The stone inner corridors are well natural lit and good ventilation. It was constructed solid sandstone and like “rock cave tunnel” with 5 inner passageways containing scores of Main Buddha image. No mortar was used in the construction and stones were connected with stone brackets. The shrine is said to encase 84, 000 holy relics of the Blessed one and it dedicated to the 84, 000 future Buddhas.
This adjacent north of the Shitthaung Temple is octagonal Andaw Thein Temple, was originally built by Min Hla Raza in 1521 A.D. Due to some damage, the King Minrazagyi reconstructed parts of in 1596 enshrining the molar tooth relic of Buddha, brought from Sri lanka by King Minbin. Now that molar tooth relic is housed in Sandamuni monastery. The shrine is an octagonal structure made of pure sandstone, surrounded by eight octagonal pagodas and also main temple is encircled by fifteen small circular pagodas, built of bricks stand on the platforms of south, north and west of the shrine as satellite cave-temples in its premises. The entrance is in the east with two inner concentric passages. On both walls of the first corridor there are small niches with Buddha images are placed to be worshipped. On a statues which is of the most ancient, sculpted in the form that the sacred robe was tied on the chest. The ornamental backdrops of the statures placed at the central pillar are artistically sculpted with two mythical animal figures known as “ Byala ” with combination of nine kinds of different physical animals signifying auspiciousness.
At the north of the outer wall of the Andaw Thein shrine stands the enclosure of the Radanabon pagoda. The pagoda was built by Minkhamaung and his chief queen Shin Htwe in 1612 A.D. The main edifice is circular at the base and is constructed of huge blocks of sandstones, with inverted the dome is bell shaped. Above the dome, the spire section has fallen down during the second world war by bomb. But recently rebuilt again and now you could see the complete fine pagoda and traditionally beautiful stone umbrella of pagoda. As this pagoda is solid, no entrance, niches, arches, nor ornamentation of nay kind, not even an an image could be found. At the platform, there are some 24 small circular pagodas. Each of the four corners of the outer pagoda walls is protected by a sand stone lion statue.
A very significant Htukan Thein temple is located about 100 m to the north-west of Shitthaung Pagoda on a small hillock. Built in 1571 by King Min Phalaung with two stone stair ways (3) m broad on the east and south but most of the pilgrimage use eastern stair ways. A stepped entrance on the east side leads to a long vaulted passageways that spiral to a central chamber which is 5m in height. There are lines with stone images including some of Mrauk U’s best known sculptures, showing seated ladies offering lotus buds to the Buddha. Each of the 64 figures sports a different hair-style. Niches in the side walls contain more Buddha statues. There are also 140 niches with Buddha images. The west one which is slightly convex is connected to an oblong chamber. This room is said to be the place where the Buddhist Archbishop used to sit to discuss religious affairs with Senior Monks. This pagoda is now one of the well-known pagodas of Mrauk-U.