Bagan is home to the larges area of Buddhist temples,pagodas,stupas and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th and 13th centuries.Bagan is not only the main tourist attraction in Myanmar also one of the richest archaeological sites in South-east Asia.Dotted with thousands of temples and pagodas,some dating back hundreds of years and some are rebuilt after the devastation of large earthquake in 1975. One cannot forget Sunrise and Sunset of panoramic view from Bagan with thousands of Pagodas. Riding with Horse-carts between the Pagodas and sunset from the boat on the Ayeyarwaddy river are the memorable moments you can do during your trips in Bagan.
Cause Bagan lies in the dry zone of middle Myanmar, is accessible in every season,whether there is rainy season. The villages in and around Bagans dating back to the ancient style of livings. lacquer ware from Bagan has the most cultural distinction and traditional value to all Myanmar. Horse-carts and lacquerware workshops remain as the main income sources for the local people in Bagan.Popa Mountain in this region,about 1500 meters high, is famous as the Oasis in dry zone and the resident for the Nats(Spirits). The Yokesone Monastery at Salay reflects the picturesque wood carving technique from ancient time. One can enjoy the charming of Ayeyarwaddy River, along the Boat trip from Bagan to Pakokku.
Shwezigon Pagoda: the prototype for all the stupas in Myanmar.It was founded by King Anawratha in 11th century after the conquer of Mon Kingdom from lower Myanmar. The sandstones, which used to built this Pagoda were got from the 11 km far Tuyin taung.Now was the Shwezigon Pagoda one of the main attractions from Bagan.The events of Pagoda Festival during November was also one of the highlight in Bagan.
Ananda Temple: the finest temple among all the temples in Bagan.It was built by the King Kyansittha in 11th Century in the mixture of Myanmar and Mon architecture. Ananda Temple is like the museum of all myanmar arts and crafts.
The religious buildings of Bagan are often reminiscent of popular architectural styles in the period of their constructions. The most common types are:
- Stupa with a relic-shaped dome
- Stupa with tomb-shaped dome
- Sinhalese-styled stupa
- North Indian model
- Central Indian model
- South Indian model
- Mon model
The ruins of Bagan cover an area of 16 square miles (41 km2). The majority of its buildings were built in the 11th century to 13th century, during the time Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Empire. It was not until King Pyinbya moved the capital to Bagan in AD 874 that it became a major city. However, in Burmese tradition, the capital shifted with each reign, and thus Bagan was once again abandoned until the reign of Anawrahta. In 1057, King Anawrahta conquered the Mon capital of Thaton, and brought back the Tripitaka Pali scriptures, Buddhist monks and craftsmen and all of these were made good use of in order to transform Bagan into a religious and cultural centre. With the help of a monk from Lower Burma, Anawrahta made Theravada Buddhism a kind of state religion, and the king also established contacts with Sri Lanka. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Bagan became a truly cosmopolitan centre of Buddhist studies, attracting monks and students from as far as India, Sri Lanka as well as the Thai and Khmer kingdoms. Among many other works, Aggavaṃsa’s influential Saddanīti, a grammar of the language of the Tipiṭaka, would be completed there in 1154. In 1287, the kingdom fell to the Mongols, after refusing to pay tribute to Kublai Khan. Abandoned by the Burmese king and perhaps sacked by the Mongols, the city declined as a political centre, but continued to flourish as a place of Buddhist scholarship.
After the earthquake in 1975, there are only 2,217 pagodas left in Bagan, in contrast to more than 5,000 during height of the political centre. Thus in order to preserve the original pagodas, only horse-driven carriage are allowed to travel among the pagodas.
- Ananda Temple, c.1090, built by Kyanzittha
- Bupaya Pagoda, c.850, demolished by the 1975 earthquake and completely rebuilt
- Dhammayangyi Temple, c.1165, the biggest temple in Bagan, built by Alaungsithu but never finished
- Dhammayazika Pagoda, 1196–98, built by Narapatisithu (Sithu II)
- Gawdawpalin Temple, started by Narapatisithu and finished by Nandaungmya, the superstructure destroyed by the 1975 quake and rebuilt
- Htilominlo Temple, 1218, built by Htilominlo
- Lawkananda Pagoda, built by Anawrahta
- Mahabodhi Temple, Bagan, c. 1218, a smaller replica of the temple in Bodh Gaya, India
- Manuha Temple, built by the captive Mon king Manuha
- Mingalazedi Pagoda, 1268–74, built by Narathihapate
- Myazedi inscription, c. 1113, described as the “Rosetta Stone of Burma” with inscriptions in four languages: Pyu, Mon, Old Burmese and Pali, dedicated to Gubyaukgyi Temple by Prince Rajakumar, son of Kyanzittha
- Nanpaya Temple, c.1060-70, Mon style, believed to be either Manuha’s old residence or built on the site
- Nathlaung Kyaung Temple, mid 11th.C., Hindu deities “confined” to this temple
- Payathonzu Temple, probably around 1200
- Sein-nyet Ama & Nyima (temple and pagoda, 13th century)
- Shwegugyi Temple, 1131, built by Alaungsithu and where he died
- Shwesandaw Pagoda, c.1070, built by Anawrahta
- Shwezigon Pagoda, 1102, built by Anawrahta, finished by Kyanzittha
- Sulamani Temple, 1183, built by Narapatisithu
- Tan-chi-daung Paya, on the west bank, built by Anawrahta
- Tharabha Gate, c.850, built by King Pyinbya
- Thatbyinnyu Temple, the tallest temple at 200 feet (61 m), 12th century, built by Alaungsithu
- Tu-ywin-daung Paya, on the eastern boundary of Bagan, built by Anawrahta