The temple city of Bagan in Myanmar is one of the most sacred and revered locations in Asia. Similar to the Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan contains at least 2000 temples, stupas, and monasteries that were built on the Bagan plains in the 11th to the 13th century. The Bagan archaeological zone is so popular with tourists that it easily rivals Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.
This is completely a traditional city, and no forms of modern entertainment of any form can be found. This distance from the modern world gives Bagan it’s sense of isolation and serenity. The climate is relatively stable and is usually sunny most parts of the year.
The History of Bagan
According to historians, the ancient city was found by the Burmans in the 9th century. The city flourished and grew in power and influence. The city went on to becoming the political, economical and cultural center of the nation and was so for the next 250 years. Close to 10,000 temples were built of which only 2,000 remain.
The city attracted scholars and monks from all over Asia and was a place for religious and secular studies. But due to Mongol invasions, the Bagan kingdom fell, and the temple city stopped functioning. Nevertheless, the city attracts pilgrims and visitors to this day.
A Guide to the Temples:
The temples are far too many to visit them all and have to be given time to be absorbed and appreciated. Given below are the most prominent of the temples and monasteries, and at least some of them have to be visited if you are in Bagan.
Ananda Temple: Constructed in 1105 AD by the Bagan ruler, Kyanzittha, this temple combines both Indian and Mon style architecture.
Bupaya Pagoda: One of the prominent sites, the pagoda, was built by King Pyusawhti in 850 AD but was damaged extensively due to an earthquake. It was completely rebuilt a few years later.
Dhammayazika Pagoda: Located in the Pwasaw village, east of Bagan, this temple was built by Emperor Narapatisithu in 1196 AD. It is a circular pagoda with three terraces.
Dhammayangyi Temple: Being the largest of temples, it was built by King Narathu. With the interiors being completely bricked, only the outer sections are accessible to visitors.
Htilominlo Temple: Built by King Htilominlo in 1211-1231, this temple is prominently known for its plastered molding. It was repaired completely after being damaged by an earthquake.
Considering the fact that it is one of the cheapest destinations to visit, the temple is promised to be a unique experience. Exploring on foot seems to be the best way to experience the Temple City. Walking down narrow paths while taking in nature and the history promises to be a spiritual experience. One can even hop on balloon rides and intake the serene beauty of the city.
This Temple pulls you away from the chaos of our world and lets you enjoy beauty, isolation, and peace. Because of the rich culture and historical exoticism, Bagan is one trip that’ll change you forever.