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Newsletter of June 2011

:: Bagan (Nyaung U) ::





Bagan covers an area of 42 square km and has more than 2,000 well-preserved pagodas and temples dating from the 11th through 13th centuries. Bagan is one of the most significant and popular tourist attractions in Myanmar, and the area is dotted with thousands of pagodas, many of them ancient. Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia, and it was the capital of the first Myanmar Empire.

Things to See

Ananda Pagoda

Ananda Pagoda is one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples after it was fully restored from the 1975 earthquake. Built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this pagoda contains four large wooden Buddha figures, which two of them appear to change their expression the closer you stand to the figure.



The Dhammayangyi was built in the 12th century by King Kalagya Min and resembles a pyramid from the side. Impressive mortar-less brickwork - the king ordered that the bricks fit together so tightly as not to admit even a pin to pass between them. Otherwise (it is said) he cut off the workers' hands.


Kyan-sit-thar Umin

This cave temple was built in the 11th century, into a cliff face, with frescoes. It served as a monastery and features a few small rooms, which were home to the monks.


Shwezigone Pagoda

Started by Anawratha, the Shwezigone Pagoda was completed by the reign of Kyanzittha (1084-1113). The stupa's graceful bell shape became the prototype for Myanmar's pagodas. It was said that the Shwezigone was built to enshrine one of the four replicas of the Buddha tooth from Kandy, Sri Lanka, and to mark the northern edge of the city. The other three tooth replicas went to three other stupas marking the east, south and west of the city.

Upali Thein

Upali Thein is one of the few Ordination Halls still standing and is named after a well-known monk named Upali. Inside Upali Thein are beautifully painted frescos from the late 17th century.



This Blessing Stupa, built in 1277 by Narathihapati, has been known for its fine proportions and the many beautiful glazed jataka tiles around its terraces. It is one of the most westerly pagodas.


Shwe Sandaw Paya  

Built by King Anawratha in 1057, the zedi bell rises from two octagonal bases, which cap the five square terraces. This was the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading up from the bottom. The hti (umbrella), which was toppled by the earthquake, still lies on the far side of the paya compound.


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