Bagan, the main tourist destination in Myanmar, is the ancient capital of the first Myanmar Empire founded by King Anawrahta. It is one of the richest archaeological sites in South-east Asia. Among Bagan’s more than 13,000 temples were destroyed by invaders, other by earthquake and decay. Today, remains over 2000 pagodas and temples which are representing the diversity of ancient Myanmar architectural styles in the 11th to 13th century. Bagan is the cradle of Myanmar culture. Intricate frescos or mural paintings in the pagodas, depending the life of Buddha, are worth viewing.
Bagan is a highlight of any trip to Myanmar and minimum stay of at least one or two night is essential in any itinerary is strong recommended. Sunset in Bagan is a most captivating scene and treasured memory to take home. Bagan lacquerware is the best in the world.
Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the fifty five encased pagodas in Bagan. The inner one was built by the father King Anawrahta and covered with the sandstones by the son King Kyanzitthar. It is believed to contain the frontal bone and a tooth of the Buddha and is thus held in great veneration by the Buddhists of the whole of Myanmar.
It is one of the finest and most venerated temples at Bagan. It’s in plan a square of nearly 200 ft. to the side and broken on each side by the projection of large gabled vestibules, which convert the plan into a perfect Greek cross. The gilded Htee (Umbrella) caps the whole at a height of 168 ft. above the ground.
It is one of the greater temples of Bagan and a double-storeyed structure rising 150 ft. above ground level. The square base measures 140 ft. on each side. The terraces are decorated with pieces of sandstone glozed in green.
The temple was built about the middle of the 12th century A.D. by King Alaungsithu and its rises to a height of 201 ft. above the ground and overtops all the other monuments. The high cucibles, the corner stupas on the terraces, the flamboyant arch-pediments and the plain pilasters combine to give a soaring effect to the monument.
Dhamayangyi, most of the arches and the major portion of the structure are still sound. The finest brickwork is to be seen in this temple and enclosure wall. The outer corridor is accessible as all the entrances to the inner one are blocked by brickwork for unknown reason.
Kubyauk-gyi Temple, the interest attaching to this temple lies in the fine mural paintings depicting scenes from Jatakas painted on the interior walls. The complete series was painted half on the northern wall and half on the southern wall of Kubyauk-gyi Temple, the vestibule.
Kubyauk-gyi Temple, the building is lighted by perforated stone windows on which are incised geometrical designs of fine proportions. Additional interest attaches to these paintings on account of the legend in old Mon characters under each of the sense they depict.
The temple consists of two storeys, being set back one behind the other, and each is crowned by terraces ornamented with battlemented parapets and small stupas at each corner surmounted a deeply moulded cornice set with glazed plaques of different sizes and patterns.
The temple is an allegorical representation of the physical discomfort and mental distress the captive king had to endure. The builder’s grievance is graphically demonstrated by the uncomfortably seated and sleeping Buddha.
It is built of brick and mud mortar and surface with stone, and is square in plan with porch projecting on the east face. The arch pediments over the windows and the carving of the frieze are fine examples of architectural motifs in stone.
The last remain of original twelve gates, of some were disappeared during the war with Mongolians and some washed away by mighty Ayerwaddy river, is dated back to 849AD. There are also two most powerful and respected figures of Myanmar Nat pantheon inside the niches of the gateway namely Mr. Handsome and Sister Golden Face.
One of sixteen pentagonal-shaped monuments from Bagan period, where scholars suggest these are the earliest surviving five-sided buildings of the world. There are five small temples to house the images of four last Buddhas and the future Buddha, a clear concept of Mahayana Buddhism. This stupa was built around 1197 by King Narapatisithu, a period when the belief of Mahayana Buddhism should be terminated with the continuous efforts of kings of Bagan dynasty.
Lacquerware are objects decoratively covered with lacquer. Lacquerware includes small or large containers, tableware, a variety of small objects carried by people, and larger objects such as furniture and even coffins painted with lacquer.
The rattan bark - or skin - is removed by a machine and the pole sanded to produce a smooth surface. The wood is a pale sand color. Wood dyes and finishes are easily applied. Skinless rattan is most often used for wicker furniture, curtain rods and even picture frames.
Jaggery is made of the products of sugarcane and the date palm tree. The sugar made from the sap of the date palm is more prized and less commonly available outside of the regions where it is made.