Fine Weather Travels & Tours

Bagan

Bagan- One of the archeological site in the Southeast Asia, accessible by every means of transport. Situated in the unpromising arid region of central Myanmar, on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwady, the Bagan archeological zone covers only 42 km square. Unbelievable number of pagodas and temples of from 11th to 13th century can be seen therein, the most interesting being Shwezigon paya, Ananda temple, Gubyaukkyi temple and Dhammayangyi temple. Study of Myanmar Architecture is possible here. It is also the city of Myanmar Lacquerware of which you can study every single step of its fabrication.

WHAT TO SEE

Shwezigone Pagoda

Shwezigone PagodaThis golden Pagoda was the first monument built in the Myanmar style, the prototype for later Pagodas.

It was first built by King Anawrahta, the founder of the first Myanmar kingdom, and completed by his son, King Kyansittha in 1087.

Ananda Temple

Ananda TempleThe Ananda, complete in 1090, is Kyansittha’s masterpiece and the crowning achievement of the Early Style of temple architecture. The plan is that of a Greek cross, with the arms formed by porticoes radiating from a central square block. The proportions are majestic. Each side of the central square measures 175 feet, while the overall length of each axis is 290 feet. The main block is 35 feet high, and above is rise two tiers of sloping roofs, followed by four receding terraces which forms a base for the curvilinear spire. Finally, a gilded finial and a hti (umbrella) take the temple up to a height of 172 feet.

The Ananda seems like a magic cave full of wonders. The corridors are honeycombed with niches which hold small stone images of the Buddha in various postures. Particularly noteworthy is a series of eighty reliefs in the two lower tiers of niches in the outer corridor which depict the Final Life of the Buddha from his birth as Prince Siddhattha to his Enlightenment.

There is also a vast collection of green glazed terracotta plaques in the Ananda, the largest assembled in a single building. The plaques ornamenting the ground storey celebrate Buddha’s victory over Mara, the Evil One, and his army-the plaques of the western side depict the hideous monsters of Mara’s army while those on the eastern side show the devas, with auspicious symbols in their hands, jubilant over Buddha’s victory over Mara. The plaques in the lower terraces depict the Lesser Lives of the Jatakas, each Jataka being represented by one scene, with a legend in Mon. The 389 plaques of the four upper terraces provide a fuller portrayal of the ten Major Lives of the Jatakas ending with Vessantara.

Thatbyinnyu Temple

Built by King Alaungsithu in mid 12th Century, is the first and highest of the multi storied temples (61m high) with high cubicles, corner stupas and “flame” pediments providing soaring effect, steps from entrance to corridor around central mass, thence by internal and external stairways to upper’ story with Buddha image.

Gawdawpalin TempleBuilt in 13th Century is looked like Thatbyinnyu Temple with four Buddha images around central tube in lower Buddha images around tube in lower storey and internal stairway to upper storey.

Dhammayangyi Temple

Dhammayangyi TempleBagan’s most massive Temple noted for its fine brickwork. King Narathu built it in 1167.

Gubyaukgyi Temple

The Gubyaukgyi is noted for the paintings of Jataka scenes which adorn its interior walls. Each scene is painted on a small, square panel, which is neatly delineated. The legends in Myanmar give the title of each Jataka and mention the main character depicted in the scene.

Tharaba Gate

Tharaba GateThe Tharaba, the main gate of the eastern wall, is the only one left of the twelve gates of the walled city which King Pyinbya established in 1849. The Gate is interesting because it is the only piece of secular architecture left.

Wall Painting

Wall PaintingPaintings also embellish the interior walls of the temples and other buildings. Although sometimes spoken of as frescoes, they are strictly not so because they were painted on plaster which had already dried . A white lime wash would first be prepared, then outlines sketched to be filled with colour-predominantly yellow, orange, red and brown- and forms outlined, usually with a clear black line, but sometimes with red. Generally, the ceiling would be decorated with small figures of the Buddha in rows, or with celestial beings. The frieze would have a running pattern of foliated designs or of ogre-head pendants , below which would be depicted the 28 Buddhas of the Past. The most important segments of the wall would be filled with small panels depicting the Jatakas, or with larger panels portraying the Final Life of Gotama Buddha. These painting have added value because they also portray the secular buildings of the period, as well as the dress, the ornaments and the furnishings of the time, The lower parts of the wall world be decorated with floral and geometric designs. Murals of the Bagan period can be seen at two Gubyaukgyi (Wetkyi-in and Myinkaba ), the Thetkyamuni, the Kondawgyi, the Pahtothamya, the Nagayon and the Nandamannya among others, while the Apeyadana is made distinctive by its paintings of a Mahayanist character.

Shwe Sandaw Pagoda

Built in early 11 century displays a strong Mon influence with a steep stair way directly to the terraces for a Superb view from the upper level.

Others sights worth to visit are

Sulamani Temple
Nanpaya Temple
Manuha Temple
Bupaya Pagoda
Phayathonzu Temple
Archacological Museum
Lacquerware Museum

Htilominlo Temple

The Htilominlo is named after its builder, King Htilominlo (1211-1234?). The Htilominlo is one of the larger temples of Bagan, each side of the square base measuring 140 feet, and the whole structure rising 150 feet high. A vestibule projecting to the east, as well as archways on the other three sides, provides entry into the double-storied temple which has four images of the Buddha in its ground storey. Two stairways built into the thickness of the walls lead from the ground floor to the upper storey where there are another four images of the Buddha. Receding terraces, faced with pieces of sand-stone glazed in green, rise above the upper storey and are surmounted by a curvilinear spire.

Portions of fine plaster carving still remain on the arch pediments, frieze and pilasters, but the murals inside have felt the passage of time. Of some interest are the horoscopes of important personages inscribed high up on the walls to escape destruction.

BEYOND BAGAN

Mount Popa

A mountain park and abode of Mahagiri and other nats or spirits, situated about 50km southeast of Bagan.

Sale (Sa-Lay)

A small town about l5km south of Bagan. U Pone Nya Museum exhibits antique lacquerware wooden relief and a large standing gilded Buddha Image. Other place, worth to visit in Sale, is Tha-ta­na Kyaung (Monastery) where Tipitaka texts are housed in a large red lacquered cabinet.