Shwegugyi Temple: Splendor in Ruins
The Shwegugyi Temple was built by King Alaungsithu in the year 1131. It is one of the comparatively smaller temples of Bagan but no less elegant than others. Standing on a brick platform, this one makes for one of the most interesting of the Bagan sites along with the ruins of earlier royal palace. The post pits and the brick foundations of a former royal palace, started by King Kyanzittha lie at the northwest part of the temple or masterpiece.
It is situated in the north of Thatbyinnyu. It can be said that square terraces make for an integral part of Bagan art and the Shwegugyi Temple stands further testimony to that. There are three squared shaped receding upper terraces with stupas or spires bracing each of the corners on top of the central block.
The inner corridor and the hall surrounding the central structure have open windows and doorways that allow sufficient air and sunlight. Plinth, arch-pediments, cornice moldings, and detailed stucco carvings are the primary features of Shwegugyi Temple.
It is believed that the architectural style of this temple marked a clear change from the former styles. It has a lighter structure, is airier and features more decorations with a stress on verticality. It is reminiscent of the transition between the Gothic and Romanesque styles of the European cathedrals. As per beliefs, the Pali inscription on stone slabs of the temple was created in around seven and half months under the orders of the King Alaungsithu also known as King Sithu.