Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.
Bagan with their Pagodas and Temples dating back more than 1500 years of history is the most fascinating place for visitors and you arrange your sightseeing Tour by Car, Horse Cart or on your own on a Bicycle. Also you can have a idyllic Sunset Boat trip on the Irrawaddy River to observe the beautiful Sunset over Bagan while enjoying a cold Drink. Bagan is also a great place for beautiful local Art, such as Lacquer ware, Bamboo works and beautiful local made Cloth. Other attraction is a day trip to Mount Popa, 50 Km from Bagan to view the Monastery built on top of a Mountain, 1518 m ( 4981 feet ) which you can visit, you only have to climb 777 steps to the top.
Bagan Archaeological Zone’, occupies an impressive 26-sq-mile area, 118 miles south of Mandalay and 429 miles north of Yangon.
The area’s most active town and main transport hub is Nyaung U, in the northeast corner. About 2.5 miles west, Old Bagan is the former site of the village that was relocated two miles south to New Bagan in 1990. Between the two is Myinkaba, a village boasting a long-running lacquerware tradition. One thing to keep in mind, particularly for travellers exploring the region, is that Bagan is most definitely not Siem Reap or even Luang Prabang. It’s more of an overgrown village and lacks anything resembling a night scene, although it does have basic traveller amenities. Plan your partying somewhere else. Connecting the towns are paved roads making a 12-mile oval.
Bagan (Pagan) is also a great place for beautiful local Art, such as Lacquer ware, Bamboo works and beautiful local made Cloth.
Other attraction is a day trip to Mount
Popa, 50 Km from Bagan to view the Monastery built on top of a Mountain,
1518 mt.( 4981feet ) which you can visit, you only have to climb 777
steps to the top. Come to Bagan and be enchanted by the beauty of the
The Bagan archaeological Zone fee is 25000 MMK.
Ananda Temple is one of the four main
temples remaining in Bagan. Ananda temple is considered to be one of the
most surviving masterpieces of the Mon architecture. Also known as the
finest, Largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples.
It is located in Bagan, is a Buddhist temple built in 1105 AD during the
reign of King Kyanzittha of the Bagan Dynasty.
The temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella known as hti, which is the name of the umbrella or top ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar. The Buddhist temple houses four standing Buddhas, each one facing the cardinal direction of East, North, West and South. The temple is said to be an architectural wonder in a fusion of Mon and adopted Indian style of architecture. The impressive temple has also been titled the “Westminster Abbey of Burma”. The temple has close similarity to the Pathothamya temple of the 10th–11th century, and is also known as “veritable museum of stones”.
The temple was damaged in the earthquake of 1975. However, it has been fully restored and is well maintained by frequent painting and whitewashing of the walls. On the occasion of 900th anniversary of its construction celebrated in 1990 the temple spires were gilded. It is a highly revered temple of Bagan.
Bupaya means the “a gourd shape pagoda”, is one of the earliest monuments on the Bagan plains, although it is not know with certainty when exactly it was built. The legend says, the third king of Bagan, Pyusawhti (AD 162 -243), got rid of the gourd-like climbing plant “Bu” that infested the riverbanks, before becoming the king. He was rewarded by his predecessor, Thauddarait who was the founder of bagan (AD 108) together with the hand of his daughter and the heir to the throne of Bagan. He then in the commemoration of his good luck built a gourd-shaped pagoda on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. This cylindrical Pyu-style stupa is said to be the oldest in Bagan. Bupaya was completely destroyed when it tumbled into the river in the 1975 earthquake, but has since been totally rebuilt. The distinctively shaped bulbous stupa stands above rows of crenellated terraces. The view from the river is also a breath-taking one.
The temple is located about a kilometer to the southeast of the city walls directing Minnanthu.The Dhammayangyi is the largest temple on the plains of Bagan. From a distance it resembles the early step pyramids of Egypt. It is extending approximately 255 feet on each of its fours sides, is Bagan’s most massive shrine which has similarity architectural plan to Ananda Temple. It was probably built by King Narathu (1167-1170) over a three year period to atone for his wicked rule.
After murdering his own king father, Narathu ascended the throne of Bagan and due to that, he built this temple. It is said that Narathu oversaw the construction himself and that masons were executed if a needle could be pushed between bricks they had laid. But he never completed the construction because he was assassinated before the completion. It was said that he was displeased by the Hindu rituals and one of them who made those rituals was the Indian princess who was the daughter of Pateikkaya. So he executed her for such reasons. The princess’s father wanted revenge for his innocent daughter and sent 8 officers in the disguise of Brahmans and assassinated Narathu in this temple.
The interior floor plan of the temple includes two ambulatories. Almost all the entire innermost passage, however, was intentionally filled with brick rubble centuries ago. Three out of the four Buddha sanctums were also filled with bricks. The remaining western shrine features two original side-by-side images of Gautama and Maitreya, the historical and future Buddhas. The interlocking, mortarless brickwork at Dhammayangyi, best appreciated on the upper terraces, is said to rank as the finest in Bagan. Unfortunately the highest terraces and hidden stairways leading to them are now off limits to visitors.
It is ocated in a remote area of the Bagan plains is the magnificent Dhammayazika Pagoda. The name of the pagoda in Pali means ” Pertaining the King of Law”.The pagoda was build by King Narapatisithu towards the end of the 12th century to enshrine a number of sacred Buddhist relics given to him by the King of Sri Lanka.
The Dhammayazika is a brick structure, surrounded by five smaller structures that each enshrine an image of one of the five Buddhas of the current Kalpa.The pagoda is topped by a very large, impressive bell shaped fully gilded dome. The dome with horizontal concentric rings is beautifully decorated with several motifs, including lotus buds. It is a solid circular pagoda of the Shwezigon type, but its design is elaborate and unusual. The three lower terraces, which are adorned with terracotta tablets illustrating the Jatakas or Birth Stories of the Buddha, are pentagonal, and at the base on each side, there is a small temple with a square basement enshrining an image of the Buddha. They are all built on a raised platform enclosed within a wall, and there is an outer circuit wall which is pierced with five gateways. There are some ink inscriptions on the interior walls of the projecting porches.
The Gawdawpalin Temple was built by King Narapatisithu in early 13th century after building the Sulamani Temple. But the king did not complete the construction. It was completed by his son Htilominlo. It is located about 3 miles south of the Bu Pagoda on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and south west corner of old bagan. It is about 180 feet high and it is the second tallest temple on the plains of Bagan. Its structure is common like the Sulamani temple.
There is a story saying that King Narapatisithu became so powerful and so proud that he proclaimed that his powers were more glorious accomplished matched to his ancestors. Just after that, he became blind until he came to give his regards and his forebears made, paid obeisance in atonement for his misdemeanor.
It is Situated just to the left of the road as you enter Myinkaba, this temple was built in 1113 by Kyanzittha’s son Rajakumar, on his father’s death. Prince Rajakumar was the son of King Kyanzittha and the niece of a monk. Rajakumar was the rightful heir to the throne of Bagan. But Kyanzittha had designated his grandson, Alaungsithu, as heir, and Rajakumar relinquished his right. The temple is in an Indian style, the monument consists of a large shrine room attached to a smaller antechamber. The fine stuccowork on its exterior walls is in particularly good condition. The Early period temple is also of particular interest for the well-preserved paintings inside, which are thought to date from the original construction of the temple and to be the oldest remaining in Bagan. The temple is typical of the Mon style in that the interior is dimly lit by perforated rather than open windows. It is generally kept locked and there are temple keepers from the village and can ask for permission to open it.
Gubyaukgyi temple (Wetkyi-in) was built in Early 12th century by King Kyanzittha. It is located in Wetkyi-in Village Nyaung U, North East of old Bagan. During King Kyanzittha’s reign, the empire saw prosperity and the construction of grand temples like the Ananda and the Myazedi pagoda.
The Gubyaukgyi’s architecture shows Indian influence, particularly the spire which resembles that of another temple in Bagan, the Mahabodhi. Both are based on the Mahabodhi temple of Bodh Gaya in India, the place where the Buddha reached enlightenment some 2,500 years ago.The Gubyaukgyi is a cave temple; the first syllable of the temple’s name (“gu”) translates to “cave”. The interior walls and ceilings are decorated with fragments of ancient mural paintings that depict scenes from the Jataka tales, the stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha.
The Htilominlo temple is a large majestic structure towering 46 meters high. It is located in North east of old Bagan on the way to Nyaun gU village. Its design is similar to that of the Sulamani. The monument is named after its builder, King Htilominlo in 1218. It is situated closed to the road between Nyaung U and Bagan, and about 1.5km northeast of Bagan. 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’.
Lawlananda pagoa was built in 1059 by Anawrahta King. It is at the height of Bagan’s power, boats from the Mon Region, Rakhaing and even Sri Lanka would anchor by this riverside pagoda with its distinctive elongated cylindrical dome. It is still used as a place of worship and is thought to house an important Buddha tooth replica.
It is located on the North side of the main Road 1000ft west of the gate, is modeled after the famous Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, India, which commemorates the sport where the Buddha attained the enlightenment. It was built in 1215 by the reign of Nantaungmya. The temple’s unusual pyramidal spire is richly coated in niches enclosing seated Buddha figures, rising from a square block. The stairway to the top is closed.
It is located in Myinkabar Village, stands on this active and rather modern-looking pagoda eventhough it dates back to 1059. It is named after the Manuha who is the Mon King from Thaton, was helo captive here by Bagan king Anawrahta. In the front of the building are three seated Buddhas, in the back is a huge reclining Buddha. It is said that only the reclining Buddha, in the act of entering Paranibbana (Final Passing away), has a smile on its face, showing that for Manuha King, only death was a release from his suffering. But if you climb to the top this pagoda via the stairs in the back, you can see the face of the sitting Buddha through a window – from up here you’ll realize the gigantic face, so grim from below, has an eqally gigantic smile.
The Mingalazedi pagoda was built in 1284 A.D by Narathihapati, and is noted for its beautiful glazed terracotta tiles with Myanmar legends around the terraces. It is located in about ½ kilometer South of the old Bagan city wall.
It stands on a low square basement with a broad staircase on each side. The comer stupas on the three terraces take the form of a kalasa pot. It has fine proportions and indicates the high watermark of Myanmar religious architecture, because it was constructed a few years before the subversion of the Bagan Empire by the Mongols.
The Myazedi pagoda is a gilded stupa sitting on a number of square receding tiers, located in Myinkaba village South of old Bagan.
Mya Zedi Pagoda is located between Myinkaba and Bagan. Mya Zedi meaning “Jade Pagoda” in Myanmar.The Myazedi was built during the first half of the 12th century by Prince Yazakumar to make merit and to serve as a memorial to his mother. The name of the paya translates to “Jade Pagoda”. The famous Myazedi stone inscription that was discovered here is one display in a small building next to the pagoda.
Myazedi inscription, epigraph written in 1113 in the Pāli, Pyu, Mon, and Burmese languages and providing a key to the Pyu language. The inscription, engraved on a stone found at the Myazedi pagoda near Pagan, Myanmar (Burma), tells the story of King Kyanzittha’s deathbed reconciliation with his estranged son, whom he had disinherited by a peace-producing compromise of 1084 that had helped end the bloodletting between the Pagan and Mon kingdoms.
It is closed behind the Manuha Pagoda, there is a shrine mostly known as “Nanpaya”. It is said to have been used as Manuha’s prison although there is little evidence supporting the legend. There is also another story saying that the shrine was originally Hindu. Supposedly his captors thought that using it as a prison would be easier than converting it to a Buddhist temple. But also some say that the temple was built by Manuha’s grand-nephew known as Prince Naga Thaman in the late 11th century.
Nathlaung Kyaung means ‘Shrine Confining
Nats or Spirits’, a reference to a purported time when King Anawratha
tried to banish Nat worship in Bagan. He is said to have confiscated all
non-Buddhist religious images including indigenous Myanmar nats and
Hindu devas. Then he ordered to have placed them in this shrine as part
of an effort to establish ‘pure’ Theravada Buddhism during his reign.
The king eventually gave in to the cult and standardized the current
roster of principal Burmese Nats by placing 37 chosen images at
This temple is situated slightly to the west of the Thatbyinnyu, this is the only Hindu temple remaining in Bagan. It is said to have been built in 931 by King Taunghthugyi, more than a century before Theravada Buddhism came to Bagan, following the conquest of Thaton. In design it resembles the Pyu Leimyethna or four-sided shrines of Sri Keshtra.
Payathonzu means “three pagodas” is a complex of three interconnected shrines. It was abandoned shortly before its construction was complete, could have been due to the invasion of the Mongols. This monument has been built during the 13th century.
Since there are some possible Mahayana influences in the late time, the monument has mural paintings referring bodhisattva figures. Some define that the three monuments was designed to show the worshipping of Hindu gods such as Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. But in another way, it is the representation of “Triple Gems” of Theravada Buddhism which as Dhamma, Buddha, and Sangha. Two of the shrines contain vaguely Chinese or Tibetan-looking mural paintings that contain bodhisattva figures. The complex is usually locked. It’s best to inquire at the museum in Old Bagan to make an appointment for an inspection; in high season, it will probably be open most of the day for tour groups.
Shwegugyi means “the Golden Cave” in Myanmar. It is located in front of the royal palace and therefore also known as the “Nandaw Oo Paya” meaning the “Pagoda in front of the palace”. It was built by King Alaungsithu in 1140 A.D. There is a legend saying, that there was a huge block of brick about 12 feet high sprouted from the ground in response to the king’s greatness of accumulated merit. So with the huge block of brick, formed the plinth in the formation of the temple. It was mentioned that the Shwegugyi was completed in 7 months and 7 days. It is a two-tired monument. The base form a square cellar forming the main structure. There are four Buddha images seated around the sides of the central block in the cellar. There are two original inscriptions on each side. King Bayinnaung was known to have renovated some of the entrance of the Shwegugyi Temple later in his period.
King Anawrahta built Shwesandaw Pagoda after his conquest of Thaton in 1057. This graceful circular pagoda was constructed at the centre of his newly empowered kingdom. The pagoda was also known as Ganesh or Mahapeine after the elephant-headed Hindu god whose images once stood at the corners of the five successive terraces.
The five terraces once bore terracotta plaques showing scenes from the jalakas, but traces of these, and of other sculptures, were covered by lather heavy-handed renovations. The pagoda’s bell rises from two octagonal bases which top the five square terraces. This was the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the pagoda itself. This pagoda supposedly enshrines a Buddha hair relic brought back from Thaton.
The hti, which was toppled by the
earthquake, can still be seen lying on the far side of the pagoda
compound. A new one was fitted soon after tie quake.
Before when people were allowed to climb up the terrace of the pagoda, it was a great spot to view the sunset of Bagan. But nowadays, to keep the ancient monuments in good shape, the stairways have been closed down.