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It is situated on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy River and 688 km from Yangon. Bagan is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia with over 40000 ancient monuments built during 11- 13 century. It is also known as the centre of Myanmar Lacquer ware industry. Bagan was the capital of the first unified Empire of Anawrahta founded in 849 AD, and flourished from 1044 to 13th century.
PLACE OF INTEREST IN BAGAN AREA
"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.
The meaning "That-byin-nyu" 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.
This 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.
"Sula-Mani "means" the jewel of crown" and at the same time it refers the name of the pagoda in the celestial being in which the hair of prince Sidharhta (the Gotama Buddha to be) at the time of his renunciation was enshrined. The temple was built by king "Narhapati-sithu" in 1183. It has one similar plan to "That-byin-nyu" temple and has two floors, the ground floor and the first floor. As in "Dhama-Yangyi" temple, the positioning of the bricks is remarkable. The architects used the sandstone among the bricks to re-enforce the building. That edifice was built in the contemporarily time of "Gawdaw-palin" temple, and the temple is well symmetrical from all directions. The ambulatory is decorated with the mural paintings of the XII and XVIII century. The exterior walls are decorated in stucco and pilaster and glazed lotus flowers of green and yellow. It was the time of Burmese architecture attained the highest point, and the ideal architectural was sought out after the following builders (for example; "Hti-lo-min-lo" temple).
Standing on high brick plinth, situated in the eastern part of Old Bagan Palace site. This temple was built by King "Along-sithu" in 1131 AD. The arch-pediments, pilasters, plinth and cornice are decorated with fine stucco carving which represent Myanmar style architecture in the early 12th centaury.
Dating the XII century, this temple was built by king " Nara-pati-sithu" and offering the height of 60 meter. It is one of the most gracious and elegant temples of Bagan. Sitting on the first terrace of this temple, admiring the Sun going down on the top of the Tant-kyi-taung mountain above the water of River Ayeyawaddy is the most magnificent panoramic scene. The view of the ruins of the Bagan city at the twilight remained a good memory and un-forgettable to the tourists during their stay in the Myanmar. It was the building badly damaged by the earthquake of 1975, and renovated on its original style with the help of UNESCO. This temple is said to be the most elegant temple in Bagan by all visitors near and far.
Gu-byaunk-gyi temple (Wet-kyi-inn village)
The 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
The 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.
The "Shwe-zee-gon" 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 "Zee-gon", and the pagoda was named after that word as "Shwe-zee-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.
Standing 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.
The "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.
The 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.'
Just next to the foot of "Shwe-san-taw" pagoda is a long building made of brick that shelters a statue of lying Buddha of 18 meters dating back to XI century. The head of the statue directs towards the south that represents the Buddha's resting. For the representation to entering " Nivana", the head pointed toward the North.
"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.
Situated 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 ***
This 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.
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