Bagan
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bagan01One of the most popular tourist destinations in Myanmar is Bagan, capital of the first Myanmar Empire (846-1368 AD). Bagan is a place where Theravada Buddhism was flourishing in Bagan Era from 11th to 13th centuries. Nowadays, Bagan has become one of the richest archaeological sites in the world. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River and 145 km southwest of Mandalay. Over 2,000 Buddhist shrines, temples, pagodas and remains of the Royal palace cover the whole Bagan plain of 42 sq km. The main tourist attractions in Bagan are :

 

PLACES OF INTEREST IN BAGAN AREA

 

ANANADA TEMPLE

bagan02"Ananda" is the word meaning the endless Wisdom of Buddha. This magnificent temple completed in 1090, is King "Kyan-sit-tha's masterpiece and the crowning achievement of early style of temple architecture. The plan is that of a perfect Greek cross. There are four huge Buddha Images in standing position, but the Buddha Images facing south and north are original and the Buddha images facing east and west are replacements. The original images were burnt down by the candle lights put up by of some pilgrims some years ago. A series of eighty reliefs depicting the Final Life of the Buddha, and eight scenes from his birth to attained Enlightenment is notable. The Ananda Pagoda festival held in January is a big event drawing many pilgrims from all over the country.

 

THATBYINNYU TEMPLE

bagan03The meaning "Thatbyinnyu" is omniscience and the further explanation is thoroughly and widely seeing of Lord Buddha. The temple was built by King "Alaung-sithu" in the middle of 12th centaury with the high over 66 meters. It overtops all over other monuments and once the access has been allowed to all visitors to view the magnificent panorama of Bagan plains. At present the stairways to the upper story has been closed for the preservation of the monument. It is the only temple in which one can learn the strange gesture of seated Buddha Image on a chair the two foots touching the earth, and believe all wishes come true.

 

DHAMAYANGYI TEMPLE

bagan04This most massive temple in Bagan was constructed by king "Na-ra-thu" in the mid of XXII century. The decreasing six terraces and the main structure resemble the plan of a pyramidal shape. It was the copy of Ananda temple, and has two corridors inside constructed in a plan in perfect Greek cross. But the interior passage has been closed by bricks for the unknown reason. The masonry job of this temple so remarkable that even a needle cannot penetrate between two bricks. Besides, the complicated architectural style of this temple creates the arguments on the number of floors and on the completion of the building. What is more is the founder of this temple was in a bad reputation for the killing of his father and his brother so as to get the throne. The story told again the founder had the killed of the persons who were responsible for the mistake of this amazing edifice during the construction. These reasons generate so many riddles and mysteries that lead to be known as ghost haunted temple for some inhabitants.

 

GUBYAUNKGYI TEMPLE (WET-KYI-INN VILLAGE)

bagan05The word "Gu-byauk-gyi" meaning the great spotted temple, built in 13th century, the temple with a spire resembling the Mahabodhi temple at Buddha-Gaya of India is noted for its' mural painting of 12th century. Most of the depictings are based on "Jatakas", the previous birth stories of Lord Buddha, and 28 pictures of previous Buddhas under the respective tress where each Lord Buddha attained the final enlightenment. Some of frescos were stolen by European-Tourists.

 

HTILOMINLO TEMPLE

bagan06The word "Htilominlo" literally means desired by the royal white umbrella, and desired by the king, and the temple built about 1211 AD by king "Nan-daung-mya-min", is one of the largest temples of Bagan. It is double storied structure rising 50 meters about the ground was the little bit repeating architecture of famous "Sula-mani" temple. This temple is noted for its fine plaster carving on the arch-pediment, frieze and pilaster.

 

SHWEZIGON PAGODA

bagan07The "Shwezigon" pagoda has been built under the command of king "Anaw-ya-hta" and it has been finished by "Kyan-sit-tha", the third successor of Bagan in 1084. King "Anaw-ya-hta" has the tooth replica and collar bones of the Lord Buddha un-earthed from Sri-khitra, the old Pyu capital city near modern Pyay (Prome). These sacred relics were brought to Bagan on the back of Royal white elephant. And the king made a wish, and the pagoda was built on the site where the royal elephant knelt-down. It was a sandbar called in Burmese "Zi-gon", and the pagoda was named after that word as "Shwe-zi-gon" (the golden sandbar). It was constructed by sand stones extracted from a query called "To-ywin-taung", 3 km to the East of Bagan. The blocks of sandstone were carved there and passed by the hands of a huge human chain from that query to the construction of Pagoda site. It can be said the architecture of this Pagoda is the prototype of later Myanmar Stupa, and the terraces are decorated with green glazed plaques illustrating the scenes of Jataka. This pagoda is the most famous place, the pilgrims near and far visit and appreciates the nine wonders of the pagoda. The pagoda festival is annually held in the mid of October or the beginning of November.

 

BU-PHAYA PAGODA

bagan08Standing on the bank of the Majestic River Ayeyawaddy, the "Bu-phaya" is a conspicuous landmark of Ancient Capital Bagan for travelers along the River. This pagoda with a bulbous dome resembling the "Bu" or gourd fruit was the early pagoda type in Myanmar, and it is a favorite spot for visitors to watch the sunset pass-over the river.

 

GUBYAUKGYI (MYINKABA)

bagan09The "Gu-byauk-gyi" (the great spotted cave) temple of 1113 belonging to early Mon style architecture was created by "Raja-kumar", the inherited son of king " Kyan-sitha " but price dis-inherited. It is located near "Myin-Kabar" village. Possessing the early Bagan period type temple, the eastern porch is tunnel like entrance into the temple. The inner walls of temple are well preserved fresco of Bagan period (1044-1287) depicting Jatakas, the previous birth stories of Buddha. They were cleaned with chemical ingredients with the help of UNESCO experts. One can also learn the life style, customs, and traditions of inhabitants during Bagan period from these wall paintings.

 

SHWESANTAW PAGODA

bagan10The word "Shwe-san-taw" literally means "the golden hair of the Buddha". After the conquest of "Tha-hton", the king "Anaw-ya-hta" made this gracious royal construct this in 1057. The dome is super-imposed on five receding terraces on which were once applied with glazed plaques illustrating the Jatakas. The earth-quake of 1975 made the umbrella, "Hti" in Burmese, the crowning part of pagoda fall down on the ground. The original broken umbrella can be seen on the ground nearby Pagoda. In former days the corner of the terrace were adorned with Hindu god statues, and the access is possible to climb until the highest terrace from where watch the panorama of environs or the sunset.'

 

MINGALAR-ZEDI PAGODA

bagan11"Mingalar-zedi" literally means the "Auspicious pagoda" and situated near the Bank of "Aye-ya-waddy" River, close to the "Thiri-pyit-saya" hotel. Built by king "Nara-thiha-pa-ti" in 1277 under the models "Shwe-zee-gon". The pagoda testifies the supreme achievement of the Stupa architecture decorated with glazed plaques, and of the last religious edifice in Bagan. There was a prophecy or rumor while the pagoda was in progress stating that "the kingdom will be ended when the pagoda is completed". Therefore the king believing the prediction totally stopped all construction. The 6 years later, the king learnt the teaching of Lord Buddha "Nothing is permanent", then the king had to continue the finishing of pagoda. Finally the prediction showed true that the kingdom was destroyed by the invasion of Tata-Mongol in 1287.

 

MANUHA TEMPLE

bagan12Situated in the "Myin-kaba" village, the temple carried its name after the Môn king "Ma-nu-ha", who has been brought to Bagan as a captive in 1059. Under the authorization of king "Anwa-ya-hta", the Mon King had built this temple financing by the selling of his royal properties. The temple shelters three big statues of Buddha as well as the one reclining Buddha Image in the back chamber. One can learn the attitude of the captive king under King "Anaw-ya-hta" from the light of immense Buddha Image in a narrow chamber.

 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

bagan13This museum run by Archaeological department is rightly next to the "Ga-daw-palin" temple. It is probably the largest collections of artifact from all over the country displaying more than 2000 objects some of which are of the original pieces of Pagoda and temples. It shelters the various statues of Buddha from different times, the relief of Buddha and Hindu divinities made of sandstone, the terracotta plaques, the statues and the pieces of stucco and wall paintings, the fragments of textiles painted, the leaflets of manuscripts. In the center of the museum, has been deposited by the famous "Mya-zedi" inscription carved in the beginning of the XII century written in Môn, in Burmese, in Pyu and Pali. It is also known as the rosette stone of Myanmar and depicting the story of "Gyu-byauk-gyi" temple. A trunk of petrified wood and some fossils are also exposed. The several style of traditional hairdressing ways during Bagan period (1044-1287) are of interest item. The museum is every day open of 9 hs at 16 hs 30 close on Monday and gazette holidays.

 

VICINITY

 

MT. POPA

poppa01It stands 50 km south east of Bagan and the height is 1500 meter. Mt. Popa is an extinct volcano. It is standing out as a green-clad land mark in dry zone and also known as Oasis in the central part of the country. There are nearly 200 springs at this mountain from which water constantly comes out. Canals are dug to supply water to Popa Town and Kyauk Padaung Township. Mt. Popa is a forest clad land mark of central Myanmar and is a place of special importance in both the country’s history and culture. This mountain is full of flowers, birds and wild animals as the climate is cool. There is also wild life sanctuary established there Nature of Nats (or) the sprits shrines in Popa Taungkalatt can be seen for experiences.

 

SALAY (SALE)

salay01

Salay is an ancient town rich in Myanmar culture. Salay has ancient pagodas which date from the Bagan Period. Visitors to the ancient capital Bagan often make a 20 miles (15 kilometers) trip south to see Salay, an ancient town rich in Myanmar culture. Salay is also on the great Ayeyarwaddy River, like Bagan. Salay has ancient pagodas which date from the Bagan Period. There are over a hundred ruins around Salay, but unlike Bagan many of them have never been systematically studied by archaeologists and historians. Salay seems to have developed as a town in the latter part of the Bagan Period and has been a centre of Myanmar culture for at least over 700 years.

 

TANTKYI TAUNG OR TANTKYI HILL

bagan14Tantkyi Taung or the Tantkyi hill is located on the western side of Ayeyarwaddy River which falls on the other side of Bagan. On the Tantkyi Hill lies a Pagoda and is known as the Tantkyi Taung Pagoda. The Tantkyi Taung Pagoda was built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta. King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha's tooth relics and King Anawrahta duplicated with another one and embedded in the sacred place inside this pagoda. There are 32 statues of elephants made in ratio to different directions at the base of the pagoda. It is an octagonal shaped designed platform on which the pagoda resides. Many years passed by but still the pagoda is maintained by time to time. It takes about half a day to travel and visit this place. There are ferries carrying visitors across the Ayeyarwaddy river, every early morning.

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