Bagan is located on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, which was the empire of the 9th century for 250 years. During 12 centuries, it was ruled by 55 kings and covered the city and its surroundings with thousands of inspiring monuments of all shapes and sizes, most of which are decorated with incredible wall paintings. Bagan was the capital as well as the political, economic and cultural nerve center of the Bagan Empire. Bagan in Burma is one of the most significant archaeological sites in South East Asia. On the other hand, it is still quite unknown because of the isolation the country has been in for decades. Today, around 2,200 monuments remain in different repair stages, making Bagan one of the world’s densest temple and pagoda concentrations. However, the golden age of Bagan ended in the 13th century when the Mongols invaded and sacked the Kingdom and its capital city. Its population was reduced to a village that remained among the once-larger town’s ruins. In 1998, this village and its inhabitants were relocated to the south of Bagan a few kilometers, forming “New Bagan” where you will find accommodation in its handful of cheap, quaint, clean hotels and religious centers.
Therefore, these facts make Bagan is one of the most attraction places in Myanmar. The following are top 5 famous places you must visit in Bagan when you take a tour in Myanmar.
Dhammayangyi Temple is Bagan’s most massive structure with an architectural plan, similar to that of Ananda Temple. It was built by King Narathu, also known as Kalagya Min, the King Killed by India. The temple is located approximately one kilometer North West of Minnanthu Village.
The temple’s interior floor plan includes two outpatients. However, nearly all of the innermost passage was deliberately filled with brick rubble centuries ago. Also filled with bricks were three out of the four Buddha sanctums. There are two original side-by-side images of Gautama and Maitreya, the historical and future Buddhas, in the remaining western shrine. It is said that Dhammayangyi’s interlocking, mortarless brickwork, best appreciated on the upper terraces, ranks as the finest in Bagan.
The Thatbyinnyu which is the most highest monument in Bagan, built by King Alaungsithu is a transitional temple between Ananda’s Early Style, half a mile north-east, and Gawdawpalin’s Late Style, half a mile north-west. It is one of the earliest double-storeyed temples, but the arrangement is different from the later double-storeyed temples, as if in the new form it was still an experiment. The Thatbyinnyu’s plan is not unlike the Ananda-square plan, with porticos on all four sides, but the eastern portico projects beyond the others, breaking the symmetry. In later temples like the Sulamani and the Gawdawpalin, this plan is followed.
From the main building, all four sides have an arched entrance hall. The portico on the east side is longer than the other three, which breaks the temple’s symmetry. The corridors enshrine a large number of seated Buddha images seated in pedestals in receding arches in the walls. A few statues of Nat spirits who were worshipped in Burma before the arrival of Buddhism can also be found in the temple.
Ananda temple is considered one of the Mon architecture’s most surviving masterpieces. Also known as the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered in Bagan. Ananda suffered considerable damage during the earthquake of 1975, but was completely restored. King Kyanzittha is said to have built this perfectly proportioned temple around 1105, heralding the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle Period. The temple spires were gilded in 1990, on the 900th anniversary of the building of the temple. Occasionally the rest of the outside temple is whitewashed.
A legend says there were eight monks who came to the palace one day begging for alms. They told the king they had once lived in the Himalayan temple of the Nandamula Cave. The King was fascinated by the stories, inviting the monks back to his palace. They showed the king the mythical landscape of the place they were, the monks with their meditative powers. King Kyanzittha was overwhelmed by the sight and wanted to build a temple in the middle of the Bagan plains that would be cool inside. The king executed the architects after the temple was built just to make the temple style so unique. INTERIOR VIEW: hallway Nativity at Lumbini Kyansitthar Shin Ahrahan, the monk who bought Buddhism to Myanmar The structure of the temple of Ananda is that of a simple hallway temple. The central square is 53 meters on both sides, while the superstructure rises 51 meters above ground in terraces to a decorative cliff. The entrance ways make the structure a perfect cross, with a stupa finale crowning each entrance. The base and the terraces are decorated with 554 glazed tiles that show jataka scenes (Buddha’s life stories) thought to derive from Mon texts. Huge carved teak doors separate interior halls on all four sides from cross passages.
The Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the oldest and most impressive monuments of Bagan. Most noticeable is the huge gold plated pagoda glimmering in the sun. The design of the Shwezigon Pagoda has been copied many times across Burma over the centuries. The pagoda is situated between the villages of Wetkyi-in and Nyaung U.
It is an attractive pagoda and was commenced by King Anawrahta but not completed until the reign of King Kyanzittha (1084-1113).
According to historical explanations, King Anawrahta had requested a copy of the Tooth Relic from Sri Lanka. When the relic arrived by royal barge at the shore of Bagan, the king himself descended neck-deep into the river to receive it. Then carrying the relic to the forepart of his palace, he installed it there for his private worship. Shin Arahan advised the king that for the benefits of men, devas and brahma gods; he should build a pagoda and enshrine the relic within it so that it might be worshipped for as long as the Sasana survives in the world.
The pagoda’s graceful bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later pagodas all over Myanmar.
The gilded pagoda sits on three rising terraces. Enameled plaques in panels around the base of the pagoda illustrate scenes from the previous lives of the Buddha, also known as the 550 Jatakas.
Whenever you visiting Bagan from a Myanmar trip, Tharabar Gate is the very first place welcome you to the great city of Bagan. Tharabar Gate is the main gateway to the ancient Bagan city. The Ancient Wall of Bagan City sits on an ancient palace site and was built by King Pyinbya. Out of 12 original arched gates, only one is still standing, held up by stone walls that boast their original stucco carvings. Although most of the structure is ruined, stucco carvings of the ogres can still be found. The entrance gate is said to be guarded by spiritual beings and many visits to experience the senses of the afterlife. On the left is the side of the gate is the brother “Lord of the Great Mountain” and on the right side is the sister “Golden face”.
Originally, Tharabar gate featured 12 gates during that time. The origin of Tharabar is derived from the Pali term “Sarabhanga” meaning “shielded against arrows”. Despite the fact that most of this structure was spoiled, stucco carvings of the ogres can still be found.
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