Founded as early as in 849 on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River about 500 kilometers north of Yangon. The 10th century archaeological site is considered one of the richest and most amazing sites in Asia.
Among Bagan’s more than 13,000 temples once stood there are some 2,200 remain today. Some were destroyed by invaders others by earthquake and decay.
In 1287 hordes of Mongolian horsemen under Kublai Khan conquered Bagan. The towns, at least the wooden, secular building, were mostly burnt down. Soon after, the realm of Bagan disintegrated into many, smaller kingdoms.
How to get there
There are daily flights between Yangon and Bagan which take an hour and ten minutes. There are also regular flights from Mandalay and Heho to Bagan which take only 20 minutes. Regular express coach services take about 14 hours from Yangon and 6 hours from Mandalay. Bagan Express train runs across the countryside, which takes about 19 hours from Yangon. River cruise on the majestic Ayeyarwaddy River to Nyaung Oo and which takes about 8 hours from Mandalay.
Bagan is a highlight of any trip to Myanmar and a minimum stay of one night is essential in any itinerary. Clients wishing to include a trip to Mount Popa should plan on 2 nights in Bagan, a third night would allow time to go across the river or to visit Salay.
The Ananda Temple, completed in 1090, is King Kyansittha’s masterpiece and the crowning achievement of the early style of temple architecture. The plan is that of a perfect Greek cross. There are four huge Buddha images in standing position and a series of 80 relief’s depicting the final life of the Buddha from His birth to His enlightenment is notable. The Ananda Pagoda festival helds in January is a big event drawing pilgrims even from far away places.
This temple was built by King Alaungsithu in the middle of 15th century and it is over 66 metres high. It overtops all other monuments and offers visitors a magnificent panorama of Bagan plains.
It was built by King Alungsithu in 1131 AD, and it is standing on the high brick plinth. The arch - pediments, pilasters, plinth and conice moulding are decorated with fine stucco carving, evidence of Myanmar architecture in early 12thcentury.
This 12th century temple built by King Narapatisithu is about 60 metres high. From the upper terrace of the temple one can leisurely watch the sunset over the scenic beauty of the Ayeyarwaddy River with the backdrop of Tantkyitaung Hill and the panoramic view of ancient Bagan. The fading light gradually veils the ruined city of Bagan – a “Bagan Sunset”, and one will never forget the trip in Myanmar.
Gubyaukgyi Temple (Wetkyi-In)
It is a 13th century temple with a spire resembling the Mahabodhi temple at Budh Gaya. It is known for its wall paintings depicting scenes from the Jataka.
The Htilominlo Temple is one of the largest temple of Bagan. It was built about 1211 AD by Nandaungmya Min. It’s a double-storeged structure rising 50 metres above the ground. This temple is noted for its fine plaster carvings on the arch-pediments, frieze and pilaster.
It was built by King Anawrahta and completed by King Kyansittha in 1084. Shwezigon Pagoda is the prototype for later Myanmar pagodas. There are green glazed plaques depicting scenes from the Jataka. The pagoda festival is held from late October to early November.
The Bupaya Pagoda is a conspicuous landmark for travellers along the river. This pagoda with a bulbous dome resembling the “Bu” or gourd fruit is a favorite spot for visitors to watch the sunset.
This museum run by Archaeology Department is situated near the Ananda Temple. It has a collection of more than 2000 items including Buddha statues, stucco pieces, terra-cotta cups and pots.