There are more than 3,000 ruins of Buddhist pagodas and temples spread across Bagan plains. Here, we introduce the major ruins, as well as museums, by area.
The Ananda temple is the one of most revered monuments in Bagan, together with the Shwezigon pagoda at Nyaung U. According to chronicles, Ananda temple was built by King Kyanzittha in early Bagan period, but its sure foundation date is uncertain.The Ananda temple has a cruciform ground plan, with four devotional halls each side. It's in plan on a square of nearly 200 ft to the side. Above this rise the superstructure in diminishing terraces to a decorative height of 168 ft. The gilded Htee (umbrella) crowns and completes the edifice.
“Bu” means “gourd" and “paya” is addressed as “Pagoda, so Bupaya literally means pagoda in a gourd shape. It stands on the bank of the Ayeyawady River. Built above rows of crenellated terraces, the small pagoda is a conspicuous landmark to navigators. The dome resembles that of the Nga Kywe Nadaung Pagoda assuming the form of a cylindrical relic casket. Above it stands a bold convex band upon which rises a tapering stupa finial.
The only specimen of its classic in structure among over 2000 surviving monuments in Bagan, Mahabodhi Temple is situated on the north of the Shwe Gu Gyi Temple within the city walls of Old Bagan. This temple is a replica of the famous Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar State in India.
It's situated on the bank of Ayeyarwady River by the motor road, inside Bagan city-wall in the southwest sector. In its general arrangement, this double-storeyed temple resembles the Thatbyinyu. The temple grounds are surrounded by a wall with four entrance gates and the main entry to the complex on the east end is guarded by two large white lion statues.
Towering over the other monuments of Bagan, it stands within the city walls, some 500 yards to the south-west of the Ananda. Thatbyinnyu is one of the first two-storey structures in Bagan. It rises to a height of 201 feet above the ground and thus visible from much of the Bagan plains.
Bagan Archaeological Museum is situated on the south of Gawdaw Palin Pagoda, in Old Bagan. Except On Mondays and gazette public holidays, it is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.The New Archaeological Museum is a three storey structure built in an octagonal design as the base.
The Lacquerware Museum is located on a side street of Old Bagan, not far from Tharabar Gate. It was founded in 1972. It serves as a treasure trove of information and a visit to this museum is worthwhile for tourists.Fine examples of a large variety of lacquerware atrifacts are displayed in the museum and many of them are protected by glass.
This temple lies to the north limit of Myinkaba village, so it's also known as Myinkaba Gu Byauk Gyi temple. Gu Byauk-gyi is a typically Mon-style temple which consists of a square basement surmounted by a sikhara with curvilinear roofs resting on terraces, and a mandapa projecting on the east of face.
The Manuha Temple in Bagan is located in Myinkaba Village about 500 meters south of Gu Byauk Gyi Temple. The earthquake in 1975 struck the temple, causing the collapse of the central roof. Consequently, the largest seated Buddha was badly damaged. It was renovated again soon after the earthquake.
It is a large gilded pagoda topped with a multi tiered umbrella called “Hti”. It sits on a number of square receding tiers. The first tier’s outer wall contains small ornamental niches topped with a golden “Hti”, in which are enshrined small images of the Buddha.The corners of the first and third tier are adorned with small ornamental spires and the second tiers’ corners contain lion statues.
It foreshadows his crowning achievement, the Ananda. So, there are the same sloping roofs, the same terraces, the same corner stupas, the same spire and the same stupa finial.But they are here used in a much more subdued manner than in the Ananda. A portico in the north, paved with green glazed stones and having niches holding stone reliefs of the life of the Buddha, provides access to the Nagayon.
The structure of the decorative brickworks reflects the fine architecture of Bagan. The exterior masonry was built of sandstone. The interior was built of brick and mud mortar surfaced with stone. It's square in plan with a porch projecting on the east face.
Located within the same precinct somewhere in the north of New Bagan.The square-shaped Seinnyet Ama temple has four entrances through projecting porches, the main one facing the west.The superstructure is composed of four steep receding terraces and a sikhara (a spire ornament shaped like an umbrella found on top of most Burmese temples) which rests on the square basement.
These two pagodas belong to 11th century A.D. and were in ruins in 1905. It is learnt that the structure of the pagoda is similar to the gold earrings which the residents wore since the ancient times.
Saytana Gyi pagoda is situated in the south of New Bagan city. It was built by King Zeya Theinkha (a) Nadaungmyar. The pagoda is one of the most massive and colossal monuments in Bagan region. The reliquary inside is the same design of Sri Lanka’s architecture.
The inscription records say that King Narapatisithu received for holy relics from the King of Sri Lanka in 1197 and built a massive pagoda in 1198 to enshrine Buddha’s holy relics. It took about one year to build the pagoda.
These temples are so called Paya Thone Zu because the monuments consist of three distinct small square temples with vaulted corridors and porticoes, joined together by two vaulted narrow passages leading from the one into the others.
Winido is a group of temples which are seldomly visited and difficult to access. Very remarkable paintings in the style of the late period of Bagan can be seen inside the Winido Temple.
Izza Gawna Temple is situated on the road from Myingun village to Ingone village. This rectangular brick monastery is 90 feet in length, 100 feet and four inches in width and 20 feet and 8 inches in height. It is low brick structure with the flat roof.
To reveal truly useful Traditional Myanmar Thanakha, Shwe Pyi Nann, the biggest Thanakha Company in Myanmar, runs the Thanakha Museum which is named after its Thanakha brand “Shwe Pyi Nann”.
Gu Byauk Gyi Temple near Wetkyi-In village lies to the south-east of Kyanzittha Umin, in Old Bagan. It was built in early 13 century with a spire resembling the Mahabodhi temple, and repaired in 1468 A.D.
Shwe Sandaw Pagoda is a cylindrical stupa with five terraces, showing Mon style architecture of early 11th Century A.D. The pagoda was built by King Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan Kingdom after his conquest of Tha Hton in 1057.
Sulamani temple was built by King Naraptisithu in 1181 A.D. Sulamani Temple is situated about three miles to the south-west of Nyaung-U and near Dhammayangyi Temple in the village of Minnanthu southwest of Bagan.
The double-cave type Pyathadar Gyi Temple is situated to the southeast of Sula-Mani pagoda. It was built by King Kya Swa. It is one of the most massive monuments in Bagan, with the fine work of stucco.
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