Bagan, an ancient city located in the Mandalay region is one of the most visited places by tourists in the country. The city served as the capital of Myanmar from the 9th to 13th centuries. It was the capital of the Pagan kingdom, the kingdom which unified regions that constitute the Myanmar of today.
The Bagan Archaeological Zone is the main attraction of the country and is one of the richest archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River, the temples of Bagan leaves one awestruck. Bagan has approximately 2000 ancient monuments and pagodas strewn all over Bagan.
What to see and do
Bagan is most famous for its historic monuments and tourists can visit nearby local villages and watch people weaving cotton. Bagan is famous for ancient craft, especially in lacquer. It is also famous for its mural painting, oil processing and palm sugar production.
In general, Bagan has a lot more to offer in term of attractions and experience. There are main four places to visit are Shwezigon, Ananda, Dhammayangyi and Thabbyinnyu Pagodas.
The sacred Shwezigon Pagoda is a solid cylindrical structure resting on three square terraces and is a prototype of Myanmarese style stupas. It was built by King Anawrahta and completed by King Kyansittha in 1087 A.D. It was believed that the pagoda enshrines the frontal bone and a tooth of the Buddha and is thus held in great veneration by the Buddhists in Myanmar.
Ananda Temple, one of the most popular temples of Bagan is situated to the south-east of Tharaba Gate. It is also one of the finest and most venerated temples. It was built by King Kyansttha in 1091 A.D. There are four huge standing Buddha images, each 10 metres high inside the temple and 80 relics depicting the life of Buddha from his birth to his enlightenment.
The largest temple in Bagan is located about a kilometre south of the Ananda Temple close to the the Shwesandaw Pagoda. It was built by King Narathu who came to power after killing his father and brother, reigning from 1167 AD to 1170 AD and is commonly though to have been constructed as an atonement. Why the central portion of the temple is bricked up is unknown but there is still access to the four porches which hold Buddha images and the outer corridor.
The tallest temple in Bagan, reaching 61 metres (201 feet) high and with a floor plan in the shape of an unsymmetrical cross with gilded spires rising up from the corners of the terraces. It was constructed in the mid-12th Century during the reign of King Alaungsithu and consists of two levels with a seated Buddha on the second storey. One of the four temples that survives in Old Bagan and located just a short distance from the Ananda Temple.
More information about Bagan, please visit https://tourism.gov.mm/bagan/