MYANMAR

[Bagan Sightseeing] A walk through the world’s three major Buddhist sites. A selection of recommended spots to efficiently visit the countless stupas and temples!

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After leaving Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, I am now in Bagan, one of the three largest Buddhist areas in the world.

 

To walk around Bagan’s vast 40,000 km², it’s very important to have a good idea of what you’re doing before you go. If you know the history and background of the chedi or temple beforehand, you will be twice or thrice as impressed when you see the real thing.

 

Today, I’ve carefully selected some of Bagan’s best attractions, so I thought it would be a good idea for you to check them out before you head out into the city.

 

Shwezigon Pagoda, Bagan Ruins

Chedi at Shwezigon Pagoda

Map of Shwezigon Pagoda

A chedi built by King Ano Yatha in around 1044. The main attractions are the horse sculptures and the 100-year-old tamarind tree. It is said that if you touch the same part of your body that is bad, it will heal that part of your body.

Reference: Bagan Site Feature 2 – Shwezigon Pagoda, a golden chedi [JPN]

 

Lion of Shwezigon Pagoda

In fact, there are several entrances to the Shwezigon Pagoda corridor, which can be reached either from Lanmadaw Road, the main road in Nyanwu, or from Shwezigon Pagoda Road.

However, if you go from Lanmadaw Street, you will have to be prepared to get dirty as you will be walking barefoot for quite a distance.

 

Shwezigon Pagoda Shops

The corridor leading to the temple is more crowded than I expected.

 

Golden Statue of Shwezigon Pagoda

One of the Buddha images in Shwezigon Pagoda.

 

People taking photos at the Shwezigon Pagoda.

At the foot of the chedi, I took a picture of something that was being filmed in earnest.

 

Map of the interior of Shwezigon Pagoda

Map of the temple. I tried to find a carving of a horse and a 100-year-old tamarind tree by asking the shopkeeper, but I couldn’t find them.

 

Drumming at Shwezigon Pagoda

Middle-aged statue of Shwezigon Pagoda

All I found was a mysterious drum and a realistic Buddha statue of a middle-aged man. I guess it’s important to learn about temples beforehand.

 

Htilominlo Temple, a Buddha image with a unique face.

Golden Statue at Htilominlo Temple

Map of Htilominlo Temple

Gate to Htilominlo TempleIf you do a Google search, you will be asked, “Isn’t this the Tee Lo Mein Lo Temple? You will be asked.

Built in 1218 by Nadaungmyar, the 8th king of the Pagan Dynasty. Its name comes from “the one whom the umbrella wanted to be king. It is said that the temple was built to commemorate the election of King Nangdaungmya to the throne, because he chose as king the person who was sitting in the direction of the fallen umbrella.

The Htilominlo Temple is a relatively huge temple with a three-story structure of brick architecture in a style similar to the Sulamani Temple.

It is also interesting to note that the colors of the flags in front of the Buddha image have different meanings, but there were no flags when I visited.

 

Buddha Image at Htilominlo Temple

There are four golden Buddha images in the temple. Each of them has a distinctive face, and the Buddha statue with a wide forehead in this photo was impressive.

Reference: Bagan Site “Tee Lo Min Lo Temple” – A majestic three-story large temple. [JPN]

 

Ananda Temple, the most famous and largest of the Bagan ruins.

Gate to Ananda Temple

Ananda Temple Map

This famous temple was built by King Changsittha in 1090. The main hall is 63 meters square and is the largest in Bagan’s ruins.

 

Shakyamuni Buddha at Ananda Temple

There are four statues of Buddha in the main hall. The photo shows Shakyamuni Buddha standing at the west entrance. This Buddha image was rebuilt after the original was lost in a fire.

 

Shakyamuni Buddha at Ananda Temple

This is Kassapa on the south side. His face looks different from the one on the reference site, but he seemed to be in a bad mood that day (laughs).

 

Ananda Temple's Nunnery

One of the four past Buddhas. This is Kunagong Muni of the East (Konagamana). Like the Shakyamuni Buddha in the west, the original was lost in a fire. It was later rebuilt.

 

Detained Buddha in Ananda Temple

One of the Four Past Buddhas. This is the Northern Detained Sun Buddha (Kaksanda).

Reference:

 

Bu Paya

Bu Paya Map

Bu Paya means gourd-shaped. The circular stupa was built by King Pyusawhti in the 3rd century. This is a place with a reputation for beautiful sunsets.

 

Bagan ruins “Thatbyinnyu paya”

Thatbyinnyu paya exterior

Thatbyinnyu paya map

The tallest temple in Bagan, built in the first half of the 12th century. It is characterized by its white exterior and vertically extending walls.

Reference: 4travel.jp

 

Nat Hlaung Kyaung Temple, the only Hindu temple in Bagan

Interior front of Nat Hlaung Kyaung Temple

Nat Hlaung Kyaung Temple Map

This temple is on the way from the Archaeological Museum to the Tabi Nu Temple. It is famous as the only Hindu temple in Bagan.

 

God Vishnu 1

God Vishnu 2

God Vishnu 3

Vishnu is enshrined here, and ten incarnations of Vishnu are enshrined on the outside.

Reference: Nathlaung Kyaung Temple – tripadvisor

 

Gu Byauk Gyi Temple, with its unique Indian cave style.

Gu Byauk Gyi exterior

Gu Byauk Gyi Map

Path to Gu Byauk GyiThe temple is located in Wetkyi-in village, northeast of Old Bagan.

It is an Indian-style cave temple built by King Kyanzittha in the early 12th century.

The dynasty prospered during the reign, prompting the erection of magnificent temples like the Aananda and Myazedi temples.

Reference: RENOWN TRAVEL

Notes on Gu Byauk Gyi

The Gubyaudjee Temple is said to have been built in the early 13th century. It is in the shape of the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, India, with the entrance facing east.

 

Inside there are 550 jatakas (Buddhist stories of previous lives), 28 Buddha statues, seven shrines after Buddha’s enlightenment, and murals of the eight visitors who visited him, with Buddha’s footprints on the ceiling.

 

The attack of Mara (a demon god who is said to have appeared to the Buddha to prevent him from meditating when he was in the Zen state of enlightenment) and his followers, their retreat, and the figures of the two Śrāvaka (meaning one who hears the Buddha’s teachings or one who has heard the Buddha’s voice) are on the left and right sides of the Buddha statues.

 

A staircase creates a wall leading to the upper floor, and part of the painting was cut internally and taken to Germany in 1899, traces of the cutting can still be seen.

 

Dahmma Yan Kyi Pahto

Exterior view of Dahmma Yan Kyi Pahto

Dahmma Yan Kyi Pahto Map

The temple was abandoned in the middle of construction and left unfinished. It was built in the same architectural style as the Ananda Temple.

In fact, the Damayangyi Temple has a few tales of its own, and if you listen to them first, you will definitely find it even more worth seeing.

Two Buddha images in Dahmma Yan Kyi Pahto

Two statues of Buddha side by side.

 

Corridor of Dahmma Yan Kyi Pahto

The ceiling of the corridor is high.

Reference: The Damayangyi Temple at Bagan Ruins: How did this unfinished temple come to be? [JPN]

 

Shwesandaw Pagoda, a great spot to watch the sunset

Exterior of Shwesandaw Pagoda

Map of Shwesandaw Pagoda

The temple was built in 1057, just after King Anoyater conquered Tatung, the land of the Mon people. It is said that the hair of the Buddha, which was in the possession of the Mon, was also taken from Tatung and placed in this temple.

The highlight was the sunset from the base, but as of November 2018, the stairs to the base are closed as shown in the photo.

Reclining Buddha at Shwesandaw Pagoda

The reclining Buddha image is still there.

Reference: I want to go to the “Climbable Pagodas”! Part 5 [JPN]

 

Bagan Site “Sulamani Temple”

Sulamani Temple Map

The word “Sramani” means “best gem” or “small ruby”. This is one of the first and most important temples of the late Bagan Dynasty (1170-1300).

The main attractions are the golden, colorful, angry, and heroic Buddha images in the chedis on the north, south, east, and west sides, and the fresco murals depicting the life of the Buddha in the cloisters.

Reference: Bagan Site “Sulamani Temple” – A beautiful temple built during the prosperous period of the Bagan dynasty. [JPN]

 

Manuha Temple, Bagan Ruins

Manuha Temple Map

The name of this temple sounds like a technique to contain Piccolo the Great, but it was built in 1067 by Manuha, the king of the Hmong Tatung Kingdom. Three seated statues and a nirvana are enshrined here.

Reference: Feel like you’re on a trip with these photos… joyphoto.com [JPN]

 

The Tayok Pye Pagoda, where you can see the chedis of Bagan

Tayok Pye Pagoda Map

This temple was built by the 11th king of the late Pagan dynasty, “Tayok Pye” (reigned: 1255-1287, real name: King Narathihapate). This disgraceful sobriquet was given to them because they fled (piye) from the Han Chinese (tayou).

The main attractions are the monument of the Japan-Burma Friendship Association, the Thousand Buddhas painted on the vaulted ceiling, and the pagodas of Bagan seen from the base.

Reference: 

 

Other temples and stupas in Bagan

Shin Bo Me Ok Kyaung

Shin Bo Me Ok Kyaung Exterior

Shin Bo Me Ok Kyaung Map

 

Bagan Archaeological Museum

Bagan Archaeological Museum exterior

Bagan Archaeological Museum Map

As you ride along on your electric bike, you suddenly see a huge colorful building. This is the Bagan Archaeological Museum. If you have enough time, you can go there.

Business hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

▽Across the street are a number of local restaurants▽

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In addition, there are many other Bagan ruins such as Nangpaya Temple, Goduparin Temple, Mahabodhi Paya, etc., so make sure you know where they are before you go.

Reference: Where to see the sunrise in Bagan (December 2018 update)

 

▽Recommended Bagan Tourism Article▽

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