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.
WHERE TO VISIT
DHAMMAYANGYI TEMPLE (THE THICKEST)
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 killer 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.
THABINNYU TEMPLE (THE OMNISCIENT)
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.
ANANDA TEMPLE (THE MOST SCULPTURAL)
"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.
SHWEZIGON PAGODA (THE MOST POWERFUL)
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 visits 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.
Htilominlo Temple is situated in Nyaung U and Wetkyi-In Region of Bagan. The temple is about 1.5 km northeast of Bagan. This large temple was built by King Nantaungmya in 1218. The temple is known to be the last Myanmar Style temple built in Bagan. The name is a misreading of the Pali word for 'Blessings of the Three Worlds'. King Nantaungmya erected the temple on this spot because it was here that he was chosen, from among five brothers, to be the crown prince. Nantaungmya was King NarapatiSithu's son. The selection of the heir to the throne had a tradition, which was to erect a white umbrella and the future ruler would be chosen when the white umbrella tilts in his position. After the event, it was decided by the state policy's council.
Pyathadar Temple is a double-cave type monument. Most of these kinds of monasteries were built out of wood. But some were built out of bricks and testify to the power of thesemonasteries.The architectural design explains the expansion of vaults and broad corridors which made it possible to pass from one building to the other. This monastery has Indian influence. It even contains a hall of ordination and a small palate. Pyathadar is really the most interesting monastery in Bagan especially if one is interested in the last pagoda of Bagan, and with the techniques of construction. It was perhaps the last great construction of the dynasty of Bagan. The technique of the vaults on corridors intersected from and to each other is completely exceptional. This elegance in the construction industry is doubled of a massive superstructure but not compared to the Dhammayangyi, which is the most massive one of all.
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.
Tharabar Gate is the main gateway to the ancient Bagan city. It is the eastern gate of the old wall. It is now the only structure left of the old city built by King Pyinbya. It was built in 849 A.D during the 9th century. The western and northern parts of the city wall were washed away by the river. There were originally twelve gates during that time. Tharabar is derived from the Pali term "Sarabhanga" meaning "shielded against arrows". Although most of the structure is ruined, stucco carvings of the ogres can still be found. The gate is known to be guarded by spiritual beings. On the left is the side of the gate is the brother "Lord of the Great Mountain" and on the right side is the sister "Golden face".
Kyaukgu Umin Gu U Min is situated about two miles east of Nyaung U town. It is one of the four monuments in Bagan, built of stone brick.
On the the upper reaches of the wall are stone sculptures of ogres clutching floral garlands, below are triangle shaped floral designs, at the base of the arched entrance are figures of Gonban, Keinnara and Keinnari between the lotus flowers, lion, tiger, deer, hare, and deva god. The main pillars of the devotional hall have floral designs around at the base.
Kyaukgu Gu U Min was built into the river bank of sand stone. In the lower section were skillfully laid stone bricks and the two stories above were built of earth bricks. A maze of about 500 feet long was dug into the sand stone wall, with many twists and turns, tunnels and cellars for meditation.
It faces north around the inside of the front main hall are niches in which eight important events of the Buddha's life are sculpted. The large Buddha image in the main hall was hewn out of sand stone. On either side of it are relief figured of the image Buddha’s two disciples. On the celling are two Arahats in relief, each on either side of the Buddha image.
On both side of inner and outer walls of the vauled corridor in the upper storey are several square niches, in which it was originally planned to paint scenes from 550 jakatas. It seems that the work was left unfinished.
It 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 KyaukPadaung 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 PopaTaungkalatt can be seen for experiences.
It is a about 5 km far away from Ancient City Bagan and locates on the western bank of the Ayeyarwady River where Virginia tobacco plantations are thriving as Myanmar agriculture produce. Pakokku is typical upper Burmese market town. Moreover, cotton, as an industrial crop, is also growing vigorously there as Pakokku is a place of rich soil where the government has designated it as a special zone for cotton cultivation. There have, traditional leather slippers workshops, a cigar factory, hand weaving workshop & Pakhangyi Archaeological Site. Tourist can be reach day return trip from Bagan crossing by the Ayeyarwaddy river with ferry cruise or driving with car cross by the Pakokku Bridge. Visitors can make a tour which is a fun way of seeing the real life of this busy place and then travel outside the town to the little know archaeological site of Pakhangyi. One will see the walls; visit the museum and a spectacular 19th century wood carved monastery.
Sightseeing places in Pakokku
Pakhangyi (Ancient City)
The ancient Pakhangyi city is situated in Yesagyo Township, Pakokku District, Magway Region in central Myanmar. There are about 382 ancient monumental buildings in the old city of Pakhangyi. The city walls of Pakhangyi are the most massive, among the remaining un-ruined city walls in Myanmar.
Watch Tower, Into the monastery compound of central town there have situated watch tower which was build in British Colonial time.
Shwe Ku Pagoda is famous for its wood carving and housing a Buddha image seated on a lotus throne.
Shwe Tant Tit Tharakhan Buddha Image is situated near Pakokku. The height of the Tharakhan Buddha image is only about 4 fingers width (Let Lay Thit) and with the elephant throne (Hsinkhan Palin).
Thiho Shin Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in Pakokku, built by King Alaungsithu. The pagoda contains an image presented by the King of Ceylon some 800 years ago and the image is one of the most revered in Myanmar. Thiho Shin pagoda festival is held from 8th waxing day to 10th waxing day of Nayon every year.
Cotton weaving factory, Pakokku is also the venue of Myanma weaving industry which is the pride of the region. Cotton ware such as Pusoe (garment of Myanmar males), napkins, towels and multi-coloured blankets are the products of the industry which are, as consumer goods, fond of by many foreigners.
Leather Slippers: Production of leather slippers is another industry in Pakokku. strong and firm leather slipper which reveals the skillful handiwork of Pakokku region.
Thanakhar Joss Sticks: The joss sticks producing industry which can also be called Myanmar handicraft industry with own innovated methods, with the use of raw materials. Most of Myanmar people usually take joss or incense sticks. The joss sticks which are used for offering at pagodas are being produced by using local raw materials: the main region where incense sticks are produced in our country, is in Yesagyok, Pakokku District. The joss sticks from Yesagyo are being used all over the country and it is the favourite of the consumers. The main materials used in incense sticks production are Thi wood, Ma kyee wood (Tamarind wood) and Thanakha. Ma Kyee wood or Tamarind wood is a sticky substance that is used for attaching the materials onto the joss sticks firmly by the workers. This wood and Thanakha are used for their sweet fragrance.
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.
TantkyiTaung 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 TantkyiTaung Pagoda. The TantkyiTaung Pagoda was built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta. King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha's tooth relic 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.There is a saying that if one could go and pay homage to Shwezigon pagoda, TantkyiTaung pagoda, TuyinTaung pagoda and LawkaNandar pagoda in a single day, a wish comes true.
TuyinTaung or the Tuyin hill is located on the eastern side of the Ayeyarwaddy River bank of Bagan.Similar to TantkyiTaung Pagoda, another famous pagoda in the Bagan region is the TuyinTaung Pagoda. TuyinTaung Pagoda was built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta. King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha's tooth relic 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. There is a saying that if one could go and pay homage to Shwezigon pagoda, TantkyiTaung pagoda, TuyinTaung pagoda and LawkaNandar pagoda in a single day, a wish comes true.