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Bagan & Its environs
Bagan, an ancient city, can be reached either by boat, road or by air. Flights fly daily to and fro Bagan-Yangon. Bagan is the birthplace of Myanmar civilization. Bagan is situated on the left bank of the Irrawaddy River and about 145 km southwest of Mandalay. It was the capital of the first Myanmar Empire in the 11th-13th century. The ruins of Bagan cover an area of 42 km with thousands of pagoda and temples and monuments. It is said to be one of the richest archeological sites in Asia. The buildings of Bagan were built both with wood and into brick, but the wooden buildings have been destroyed and only the brick remain. In 1343, when the glory of Bagan was already passing away an inscription recording the donation of a monastery noted. An earthquake in 1975 severely damaged more than half of the important structure and irreparably destroyed many of them.
Shwezigon Pagoda located in the town of Nyaung Oo four miles to the northeast of the ancient city of Bagan. It was built by King Anawrahta in 1059 AD in Bagan. The pagoda is a solid cylindrical structure resting on three-square terraces. It is prototype of Myanmar Stupa. The four shrines are facing with terrace stairways, each of rich houses a 4m -high bronze standing Buddha of the Gupta school art (cast in 1102). Surrounding the Stupa is clusters of shrine and rest houses. The figures of the 37 nats (or) sprit can be seen in a shed to the south east of platform. The previous lives of Buddha have been illustrated around the Stupa base.
The Htilominlo temple was built by King Nandaungmya (r. 1211-c.1230 AD) early in his reign to commemorate his selection on this spot as crown prince from among five sons of the king. The white umbrella had tilted toward him, and he became his father's successor. The 50 meters high Htilominlo is one of the largest temples of Bagan; and is noted for its fine plaster carvings. There are the remains of fine murals on the interior walls.
Gubyaukgyi Temple (Wetkyi-in)
A 13th century temple with a spire resembling the Mahabodhi Temple at Buddha Gaya in India: the Gubyaukgyi is noted for its wall paintings, depicting scenes from the previous lives of the Buddha.
It is the finest largest and most venerated temple in Bagan. Ananda Temple suffered considerable damage in the earthquakes in history. Built by King Kyanzitthar in (AD 1091), the temple is said to represent the endless wisdom of the Buddha. The central square has sides of 53 m and rises in terraces 51 m high. In the center of the building are 4 famous standing Buddha images each 10 m high. The base and terraces are decorated with a great number of glazed tiles showing scenes from the earlier lives of Buddha. In the western hall, there are two statuses of the temple's founder and his primate while in the west porch there are two footprints of Buddha on pedestals.
Nearby Attraction Ananda Okkyaung Monastery
Ananda Okkyaung Monastery simply meaning Brick Monastery. This is situated within the temple compound. 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.
It located just inside the southern center of the old city wall and the highest temple in Bagan of 61 meter height. Alaungsithu built this temple in 12 AD. Northeast of the temple stands a small 'tally pagoda' built of one brick per 10,000 bricks used in the main temple. In a monastery compound southwest of the temple, there are stone supports, which one hold the temple's house bronze bell.
This temple was built in 12th century, displays the finest brickwork in Bagan. It is Bagan's most massive and is of great interest. It is worth visiting there.
Mingalarzedi was built in 1277 by King Narathihapati. It was completed just ten years before the kingdom's collapse at the hands of the Mongols. It is noted for its fine proportions and for the many beautiful jataka tiles around its three square terraces.
King Anawrahta built this graceful stupa. The pagoda bell rises from two octagonal bases, which top the five square terraces. The upper terrace of Shwesandaw Pagoda has become a popular sunset-viewing spot.
At the southern end of Myingaba village is the Manuha Temple complex. When in 1057 King Anawrahta returned victorious to Bagan, it was here that the captive King Manuha was brought to live. By 1059 Manuha had built himself this two - storey square white temple and through it conveyed a melancholy message. The three Buddha are uncomfortably large for their enclosures, thus illustrating his captivity and mental stress. The facial expressions of the two-seated images are grim. That of the one reclining Buddha, on the other hand, is smiling and serene. He faces north and is therefore on the verge of Nirvana and release from the transitory World.
Nearby Attraction Nanpaya
Built in the 12th Century this attractive pagoda is a combination of sandstone and brick, particularly noteworthy is the elegant perforated stone windows. The four primary stone pillars in the central sanctuary illustrate the Hindu god Brahma.
Gubyaukgyi Temple (Myingaba)
This Gubyaukgyi located in Myingaba is to be differentiated from another temple of the same name situated near Wetkyi-in village. The Gubyaukgyi, which was built to enshrine the golden image, is a fine temple in the Early Style, square, with a vestibule in the east. The Gubyaukgyi is also noted for the paintings, which cover the walls of the vestibule, the corridor and the sanctum. These paintings are among the earliest now extant in Bagan.
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