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TRAVEL MYANMAR » CENTRAL & WESTERN» BAGAN
 
 
BAGAN Overview
 

Bagan is the main tourist destination in Myanmar, this once splendid and glorious capital of the first Myanmar Empire. The town of Bagan (formerly spelled as “Pagan”), located on plain stretching back from the banks of the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River, about 193 kilometres downstream south of Mandalay, is now a 42 square kilometres area dotted with thousands of ancient pagodas, stupas, shrines, ordination halls and monuments.

According to the inscriptions from Bagan Period, the literary name of Bagan was “Arimaddana Pura” which means “crushing of enemies”
Bagan is one of the Asia’s most amazing and richest archaeological sites, with 2230 monuments dating back to the 11th century still standing and some 1000 in ruins, there were originally about 4500, as many as 600 disappeared into the Ayeyarwady River during the summer flooding. The ancient temples of Bagan stand today as they have been standing for thousand years. Most of the structures were built between the 10th and 12th centuries when Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Empire.

Bagan was the seat of power of the first kingdom of Bagan founded by King Anawrahta who was well dedicated to the people, to the country and Buddhism. From this time, Theravada Buddhism flourished in Myanmar and the thousands of temples we still see today began to take shape. The successive Kings built magnificent pagodas, perfecting the architectural skills with each generation. Bagan was a great kingdom that rose to glory in the early 11th century. The age of Bagan was from 107 A.D. to 1369 A.D. In 1287 it was overrun by the Mongols during their wide-ranging conquests, and it never recovered its position, though a little desultory building continued on Buddhist shrines.

Time, man and nature, particularly earthquakes (there is a major one every two hundred years), have taken their toll but the most important monuments have been restored to their original grandeur and there are plans to restore 287 more of the most historically important ruins. Regrettably, many temples have suffered under the government's ham-fisted attempts at restoration.

Bagan has been aptly described as “the most remarkable religious city in the world”, and its architectural masterpieces are rivalled in the region only by Cambodia’s Angkor.  The village also has a school for lacquer ware, for which the region is noted.
Their tranquillity embraces the visitors who feel as if they shed their anxieties as soon as they see these temples. Timeless and at peace, Bagan temples and pagodas soar to the skies, standing in splendour. Sunset is prime time in Bagan as locals and visitors alike head for the highest temples to enjoy the magnificent sunsets over the stupa-dotted plain.