This bewildering, deserted city of fabulous Pagodas and Temples on the banks of the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River is one of the wonders of Asia. During Bagan’s period of grandeur, the 11th – 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, Pagodas and Monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone. Sacked by the Kublai Khan in 1287 and never rebuilt, the city once home to some 50,000 to 200,000 people, was reduced to a small town. Over 2200 Temples and Pagodas still survive today.
Bagan stands out for its sheer number of religious edifices, the magnificent architecture of the buildings and their contribution to Burmese temple design. The architectural artistry of the Pagodas in Bagan exemplifies the achievement of Burmese craftsmen. The most interesting Pagodas are Ananda, Thatbyinnyu and Gawdawpalin.
Completed in 1105, the Ananda Temple is a perfectly dimensioned stylistic structure, a fusion of Mon and Indian architectural styles and is the central monument built in the Pagan valley. In style it is representative of the end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period.
It has been built with bricks and plaster depicting iconographic images in stones and plaques (terra-cotta glazed tiles) with the main purpose of educating the people of the region in the religious ethos of Theravada Buddhism.
Gawdawpalin Temple belongs to the style of the hollow gu-style temple. The hollow gu-style temple is a structure used for meditation, devotional worship of the Buddha and other Buddhist rituals.
It is square in plan, with a portico on all four sides, but with the eastern portico projecting further than the others. In the ground storey, a vaulted corridor runs around a central block against whose four sides are placed images of the Buddha.
Both Temples are beautiful, living monuments to the glorious past that is Bagan.
For a unique view of the grandeur of Bagan, try a sunrise balloon ride. The ballooning season runs from mid October through mid March, when the winds are calmer and the air is cooler. Balloons only fly if weather conditions are suitable and if your ride is cancelled, a full refund is given. Our discounted rate starts at US $295 per passenger. It is an experience not to be missed.
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