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You can Enjoy With Bagan One Day Tour

Bagan (also spelled Pagan) is an ancient city that was the capital of the first Burmese empire. Located in the dry central plains of Myanmar, on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy (or Ayeyarwaddy) River. According to the local chronicles, Bagan was founded in the second century CE, and strengthen in 849 CE by King Pyinbya. From 1044 to 1287, Bagan was the capital as well as the political and cultural nerve center of the Empire. Over the course of 250 years, Bagan's rulers and their wealthy subjects constructed approximately 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries in an area of 104 square kilometers in the Bagan. The Bagan Empire collapsed in 1287 due to repeated Mongol invasions (1277–1301). The city formally ceased to be the capital of Burma in December 1297. Bagan survived into the 15th century as a human settlement and as a pilgrimage destination throughout the imperial period. The original Bupaya (build in 1868) was completely destroyed by the 1975 earthquake, thus a new pagoda in the original shape has been rebuilt. As located in an active earthquake zone, Bagan had suffered from many earthquakes with over 400 recorded earthquakes between 1904 and 1975. The last major earthquake came on 8 July 1975 damaged many temples such as the Bupaya and now remain 2229 temples and pagodas. Marco Polo once described Bagan as a "gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks' robes". Today Bagan is a main tourist destination in the Myanmar tourism industry local and international traveller. Well-known saying of Myanmar people is that: "If you are a real Myanmar, you must have been to Bagan." Bagan is spirit of history of Myanmar, which is the most ideal destination for tourists to visit regardless of the time of the year. Unlike other cities in Myanmar, tourists can discover Bagan and explore the ancient city with ease all year round. Bagan may be an old city, but it does offer something fresh to its visitors. There are many contemporary hotels and establishments for the modern adventurer. Travelers to Bagan will not have to worry about not having any interesting places to visit. In fact, the only problem they may encounter is deciding on which destination to go to first. As the capital of the first Myanmar Empire, Bagan is home to many archaeological sites. There are many temples, pagodas and monuments to be found throughout the area and visitors can embark on a spiritual and historical journey by going from one temple to another as all the buildings are beautiful and uniquely designed. However, there is more to Bagan than temples and religious monuments. Bagan is also home to Myanmar's archaeological museum, as well as the highly revered Mount Popa.

The kings who reigned over Bagan during golden period were;

Anawrahta 1044-1077
Swlu 1077-1084
Kyanzitta 1084-1113
Alaungsithu 1113-1167
Narathu 1167-1170
Naratheinkha 1170-1173
Narapatisithu 1174-1211
Nantaungmya 1211-1234
Kyaswa 1234-1250
Uzana 1250-1255
Narathihapati 1255-1287

Tour Highlights in Bagan

  • Ananda Temple (finest in Architecture)
  • Ananda Ok Kyaung
  • Thatbyinnyu Temple (highest Pagoda in Bagan)
  • Gawdawpalin Temple
  • Shwesandaw Pagoda (Sunrise or Sunset)
  • Mingalarzedi
  • Bagan Archaeological Museum
  • Bu Paya (sunset with the beauty of Irrawaddy River)
  • Shwe-gyu-gyi
  • Tuyin Taung or Tuyin Hill
  • Dhammayangyi Temple (most massive Temple)
  • Sulamani Guphaya Temple
  • Htilominlo Pahto
  • Shwezigon Paya (first monument built in Myanmar Style)
  • Manuha Temple
  • Upali Thein
  • Dhammayazika Pagoda
  • Nagayon
  • Nanpaya
  • Mahabodhi Paya
  • Gubyaukgyi Temple
  • Pya That Kyi Temple (Sunrise or Sunset)

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. It is also known as the finest largest best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. During the 1975 earthquake, Ananda suffered considerable damage but has been successfully restored. The Ananda Temple is recognizes as the most revered and best preserve of Bagan Temple. It is said to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha. This perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period. In1990, the temple spires were gilded on the 900th anniversary of the temple's construction. The remainder of the temple exterior is whitewashed from time to time. There is a legend saying that there were 8 monks who arrived one day to the palace begging for alms. They told the king that once. They had lived in the Nandamula Cave temple in the Himalayas. The King was fascinated by the tales and invited the monks to return to his palace. The monks with their meditative powers they showed the king the mythical landscape of the place they have been. King Kyanzittha was overwhelmed by the sight and had a desire for building a temple which would be cool inside in the middle of the Bagan plains. After the construction of the temple, the king executed the architects just to make the style of the temple so unique.

Travel Tips

The best time to visit Bagan is from October just after the raining season when all the pagodas and monument are washed by the rain and the environment is greenery and if you want to learn about the local people and their traditions, during the festival time which is usually in February is best for you.

Ananda Oakkyaung Monastery is located in Old Bagan. It was built during A.D 1137. Ananda Oakkyaung Monastery simply meaning Brick Monastery. This is situated within the compound of Ananda Temple. It is a small red brick building. The inside walls are covered in 18th century paintings depicting Buddha’s life and elements of the history of Bagan. The paintings describes that the monastery was built by three brothers. Ananda meaning Eternity and the first vulnerable monk who resided in this monastery was Shin Thuddhamma Linkara and he died at the age of 69.

Thatbyinnyu Temple, among one of the four significant monuments in Bagan and also rises 61 meter tall temple is one of the highest in Bagan. It is the magnificence in white and the Thatbyinnyu takes its name from the Omniscience of the Buddha built by King Alaung Sithu (1113-1163). It is a unique transitional temple standing between the Early Style of the Ananda half a mile to the northeast and the Late Style of the Gawdawpalin half a mile to the northwest. It is one of the earliest examples of two-story temples. Above the terraces of the upper story rises a curvilinear spire surmounted by a slim tapering stupa which takes the temple up to a height of 201 feet.

The Gadawpalin Temple is one of the largest shrines in Bagan, and the most imposing because of the Buddha images to be found on the ground floor. It is about 180 feet high and the structure is common like the Sulamani temple which was built by King Narapatisithu after building the Sulamani Temple. But the king did not complete the construction. It was completed by his son Htilominlo but badly damaged in the 1975 earthquake. There is a story saying that King Narapatisithu became so powerful and proud that he proclaimed that his powers were more glorious accomplished matched to his ancestors. After that, he became blind until he came to give his regards and his forebears made paid obeisance in atonement for his misdemeanor At the advice of the Brahman astrologers at the court, the king made idols of his ancestors and placed them on the thrones to worshipped them asking forgiveness for his sin. He regained his sight. The name Gadawpalin literally means "the throne which was worshipped."

This was the first monument at Bagan to feature stairways leading from the square bottom terraces to the round base. The upper terrace of Shwesandaw Paya is a very popular sunset spot like Mingalarzedi, which offer the highest accessible points within the zone. King Anawrahta built Shwesandaw Pagoda after his conquest of Thaton in 1057. This graceful circular pagoda was constructed at the center 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 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 the quake. The Shwe Sandaw Pagoda was renovated as needed by the trustees of the Pagoda with the help of the donors. So it now looks like a modern structure. During renovation, 50 bronze statues of Buddha were discovered near Shwe Sandaw forest monk's monastery. These statues are exhibited at Archeological Museum. Nine bronze Buddha statues discovered after the 1975 earth-quake took place were moved to the Bagan Archeological Museum. 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, the stairways have been closed down to keep the ancient monuments in good shape.

Mingalarzedi was one of the last great stupas to be erected at Bagan and is a fine example of the skills of the Bagan temple builders. It is also a favorite spot to catch the sunset. Foreign visitors to Bagan can be found on the steep steps waiting for the magical moment; as the sun sinks behind the Ayeyarwaddy, cameras click can be heard almost continuously.

The Bagan Archaeological Museum was opened on 17th April 1998 in the world renowned ancient city Bagan in Mandalay Division. It is situated near the Gadawpalin Pagoda.

The first museum

The first archaeology museum was built near the northern covered cause way of Ananda Temple in 1904 in a very modest way. Buddha images and other cultural objects collected from the Bagan area were haphazardly displayed. After some years, the museum looked like an overstocked storehouse as a large number of new art objects and antiquities were added.

The new museum

In 1976 the site to the south of Gadawpalin Pagoda was selected and designated for Archaeological Museum Compound in which an octagonal shaped museum building was constructed. It was displayed very rare and fragile artifacts excavated from ruined Bagan period it was called Archaeological Site Museum Bagan and was officially opened in October 1979. There are many display rooms. On the ground there is the display room for objects of visual arts of the Bagan Period such as terra cotta, stucco works, wood carvings, stone sculptures, metal works, and lacquer works, etc. The showroom exhibits models of different coiffeurs of court ladies of the Bagan Period. Originals replicas, ink copies of Bagan stone inscriptions and other forms of epigraphy are shown in the display room. The second floor has display rooms on religious themes. Visitors and tourists can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire "pagoda land" of Bagan from the flat roof and patiently wait for the right moment to watch the beautiful sunset that sinks to Taung hill range.

Bu Paya means a gourd-shaped pagoda. The legend says that 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. His built a gourd-shaped pagoda on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. This Pyu-style stupa is said to be the oldest in Bagan. Bu Paya was completely destroyed in the 1975 earthquake but has since been totally rebuilt. The view from the river is also a breath-taking one and now popular sight for Sunset of Bagan from Paya or in the boat.

Travel Tips

It is great to get a good sun set view from a boat which you can hire near pagoda and take a ride in the Ayeyarwaddy .

Shwegugyi Pagoda was built by King Alaung Sithu during A.D 1141. The smaller but elegant Pahto has a transition in architectural styles, which resulted in airy, lighter buildings. It is located near the entrance of the Royal Palace, therefore, it is also known as Nan Oo Paya in Myanmar. Shwegugyi Pagoda was built on top of a 13 feet high platform giving it an impression like a mushroom coming out of the ground. It is a cave Pagoda with a Sikhara on the top facing north. The big wooden door leaves dedicated by King Bayint Naung (A.D. 1551—81) who renovated Shwegugyi Pagoda during his pilgrimage there. On the door leaves are found beautiful carvings of birds. On the east side only one door leaf survives. Shwegugyi is recognized for its fine stucco and for the stone slabs in the inner wall tells last two lines in Sanskrit run as follows; "The construction began on Sunday the 4th waning moon of Kason month in the Sakarit year 503 and Shwegugyi Pagoda was completed successfully on Monday the 11th waning moon of Nataw month in the Sakarit year 503 ".

Tuyin Taung or the Tuyin hill is located on the eastern side of the Ayeyarwaddy River bank of Bagan. Like Tantkyi Taung Pagoda, Tuyin Taung Pagoda is another famous pagoda in the Bagan region, built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta. King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha's tooth relics 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.

Travel Tips

There is a saying that if one could go and pay homage to Shwezigon pagoda, Tantkyi Taung pagoda, Tuyin Taung pagoda and Lawka Nandar pagoda in a single day, a wish comes true.

The other side of Bagan is Tantkyi Taung or the Tantkyi hill is located on the western side of Ayeyarwaddy River. A Pagoda which lies on the Tantkyi Hill is known as the Tantkyi Taung Pagoda, built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta and King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha's tooth relics and King Anawrahta duplicated with another one and embedded in the sacred place inside this pagoda. Every early morning, there are ferries carrying visitors across the Ayeyarwaddy River.

The Dhammayangyi Temple is one of the four major Bagan monuments and in importance ranks alongside Shwezigon Pagoda, Ananda Temple and Thatbyinnyu Temple. Its architectural plan is similar to Ananda Temple and was built by King Narathu, also known as Kalagya Min, 'the king killed by Indians.’ Legend says that the King mandated the mortar less brickwork fit together so tightly that even a pin couldn’t pass between any two bricks.

Just like the Htilominlo Temple, the Sulamani Temple, built by Narapatisithu (1174-1211), the Sulamani Temple is a more sophisticated temple and has better internal lighting. The name 'Sulamani' means 'Crowning Jewel' or 'Small Ruby.' The brickwork at Sulamani is considered some of the best in Bagan. A water tank in the compound is also considered that the only original reservoir still use by local residents.

About a mile east of Bagan, in the region of Minnanthu.

Like the Shwezigon Pagoda, the Htilominlo Temple can be found in the Nyaung U and Wetkyi-In region of Bagan. The 46-metre, three-storey temple was built by King Nantaungmya in 1218. Similar to Sulamani Pahto, there are four Buddhas on the lower and upper floors inside the 46 m high temple.

The Shwezigon Pagoda is considered as Bagan's most significant and one of the oldest shrines in Bagan. The construction was started by King Anawrahta, but the project was not completed until the rule of King Kyanzittha. It is said that the structure was built to enshrine one of the four replicas of the Buddha’s tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The Shwezigon’s graceful bell shape became a prototype of all later stupas over Myanmar. It’s also known as the sites of 37 nats were endorsed by King.

Manuha Paya supposedly built in 1059 by King Manuha, the Mon king who was held captive in Bagan by Anawrahta. Manuha Paya Pwe celebrates on the full moon day of Tabaung (February/March). Some says that King Manuha expressed his dissatisfaction with his captivity by building the Paya.

Upali, well known Monk name this ordination hall was built in the mid – 13 century across from The Htilominlo Pahto. The brightly painted frescoes on the walls and ceilings from the late 17th century or early 18th century. Unfortunately the buildings is usually locked in order to protect them.

The elegant temple was built by King Kyanzittha but generally kept locked to protect its interesting contents. Under the huge Naga (dragon) to the main large Buddha image. The central shrine has two smaller Buddha standing Buddha as well as the large one. The outer corridor has many niches with images of the earliest Buddha life and also walls are decorated with paintings.

Built by King Narapatisithu in 1196 has five small temples, each contain a Buddha image. Similar to Shwezigon or the Mingalarzedi but has an unusual complex design. There are five gateways at outer wall. The Maitreya or Mettaya, the Buddha to come, adds a fifth aspect in tribute which is depart from other four faced type.

Research suggests that in the late 11th century the temple was built by Manuha’s grandnephew. Close the Manuha Paya, this shrine is said to have been used as Manuha’s prison. The sandstone block facing integrated over a brick core is fine. The stone windows are typically of early Bagan style actually it was probably Bagan’s first gu-style shrine

The monument was built during the reign of Nataungmya (1211-43), modelled after the famous Manabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, India. The stupa nature appeared during late Bagan period, mostly find in Salay.

Built in 1113 by Kyanzittha’s son Rajakumar, on his father death. The monument has a large shrine room attached to a smaller antechamber and the stuccowork of its exterior walls are pretty good condition. Myazedi (Emerald stupa) a four sided pillar in a cage is stand next to Gubyaukgyi Temple, written in four languages – Pyu, Mon, Burmese and Pali. Myazedi pillar is well known for Rajakumar love on his father as he donated all his belongs.

A very good place to see Bagan, from there you can get panoramic view of Bagan.

Get in Bagan

By Plane

International: There are direct flights to Nyaung U from International Airlines.

Domestic: The domestic flights to Bagan (Nyaung U airport) from other destinations are Yangon, Mandalay, and Heho (Inle Lake).

From the airport to New Bagan takes about 15–20 minutes by.

By train

There is overnight trains run daily from Yangon depart about 4pm and arrive Bagan about 9 am the next day. Two direct train departures daily from Mandalay to Yangon.

By Bus

From Bagan night buses to Yangon leave in the afternoon and arrive early in the morning. Most buses are air conditioned buses.

By Boat

RV Shwe Keinnery and other cruise runs daily from Mandalay Gawwein jetty to Bagan.

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