1041 – 1113
Who was Kyansittha?
Kyansittha was king of Pagan dynasty of Burma from 1084 to 1112, and is considered one of the greatest Burmese monarchs. He continued the social, economic and cultural reforms begun by his father, King Anawrahta. Pagan became an internationally recognized power during his 28-year reign. The Burmese language and culture continued to gain ground.
In his early life, Kyansittha was a popular and successful general who led Anawrahta's major military campaigns that founded the Pagan Empire. He was exiled twice in the 1070s and 1080s for his affair with Queen Manisanda. Kyansittha ascended to the Pagan throne in 1084 after suppressing a major Mon rebellion that killed King Sawlu.
His reign was largely peaceful. A great admirer of Mon culture, he pursued a conciliatory policy towards the Mon of the south, and continued the patronage of Mon language and culture at his court. It was in his reign that the synthesis of Burman, Mon, Pyu and Buddhist practices into a Burmese cultural tradition began to reach a level of maturity. The Burmese script began to be used alongside Pyu, Mon, and Pali. A peaceful Pagan grew wealthy from agriculture and trade, and large scale temple building began in earnest. Kyansittha completed Anawrahta's Shwezigon Pagoda and built his crowning achievement, the Ananda Temple. Pagan became a major center of Buddhist learning. Theravada Buddhism continued to gain ground although many Ari, Mahayana and Hindu practices continued to pervade. Pagan emerged a major power alongside the Khmer Empire in Southeast Asia, recognized as a sovereign kingdom by the Chinese Song Dynasty, and Indian Chola dynasty.