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Buddha Dhatu Jadi

By Devik Balami at
Buddha Dhatu Temple

The Buddha Dhatu Jadi is also popularly known as the Bandarban Golden Temple which is located close to Balaghata town, Bandarban city, Bangladesh. The term "Dhatu" are the material remains of a holy person, and it is recorded that Dhatu or relic of the Buddha houses in this temple. It is also recorded that the temple is the largest Theravada Buddhist temple in Bangladesh while the Buddha statue housed in this temple is the second largest sculpture in the country. The temple was built in early 21st century based on Arakanese architecture, an adoption of South East Asian style.

Historical account of Buddhism in Bangladesh and Buddha Dhatu Jadi

In Bangladesh, Buddhism is practiced by only small percentage of people. Even though there are fewer numbers, it is the third largest religion in Bangladesh. Earlier the Buddhists followed other forms of Buddhism but from the late 19th century, through the initiation of Venerable Saramedha, Theravada Buddhism was introduced and from then onwards most of the Buddhists follow Theravada Buddhism. Since Venerable Saramedha is also popularly known as Sangharaj, Theravada Buddhism is practiced as Sangharaj Nikaya.

The largest Buddhist ethnic population lives in Bandarban, mainly form the south-eastern district of Chittagong and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. These people belong to Marma, an indigenous group of the Chittagong Hill region on the eastern end of the country. They are of Arakanese descent and Buddhist by religion. These people are the second-largest indigenous group in the hill districts of Bangladesh.

In Bandarban, the Buddha Dhatu Jadi was established by Venerable U Pannya Jota Mahathero who belonged to the royal Bohmong family. He was also the chief priest of the temple and was Theravada monk since 1991. The relic housed in the temple was gifted to Venerable U Pannya Jota Mahathero by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee of Myanmar in the late 20th century.

Location of the Buddha Dhatu Jadi

The Buddha Dhatu Temple is located in the remote areas of Bandarban Hill District in South-eastern Bangladesh. The town has peculiar natural beauties which beautify the city. There are two of the highest peaks namely Tajingdong and Keokeradong measuring 1200m and 1412 m respectively along with dense forests. The beautiful river, Sangu also passes through the town while lake Debota Pukur rests on the hill. Within the Bandarban town, the notable structures are the Ethnic Cultural Institute and a Museum.

The Buddha Dhatu temple is built on the top in the hill town of Bandarban which measures 60 meters high and is about 4 km away from the Balaghat town and 10 km away from the Bandarban city. In the local language, this Buddha Dhatu Temple is known as Kyang.

Features of the Buddha Dhatu Jadi

The Buddha Dhatu Jadi was built on the hilltop which is decorated with extremely beautiful and dedicated sculptures and images. The temple is reached through an elegant stairway. The temple houses second largest statue of Buddha which is enshrined in the sanctum. There are several smaller statues and golden bell set on a dragon within the temple precincts. Other than Buddha images, the temple also enshrines the relics of Buddha which was gifted from the Sangha of Myanmar just below the four statues of Buddha. It is believed that with relic helps to foster peace of mind and happiness. There is a strict dress code for the pilgrims and the visitors. Shorts and shoes are not allowed inside the temple areas.

The Buddha Dhatu temple has now become a part of the Tourism Development Project of the Buddhist Circuit Tour which is sponsored by the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation.