Bagan is just 193 km south of Mandalay in Upper Myanmar accessible by boat, road and by air. From Yangon 682 km by land route. All domestic flights fly daily to and fro Bagan-Yangon. Since Bagan is a famous tourist site of Myanmar, it is well facilitated for accommodation and communication. There has variety of hotels like in Mandalay and Yangon.
Known as the city of four million pagodas, Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia. Bagan city covers an area of 42 sq-km. Bagan was the capital of the first unified Empire of Anawrahta founded in 849 AD, and flourished from 1044 to the 13th century. According to the inventory of the Archeological Department, there are 2217 standing pagodas. It is on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. There, one can find over 2,000 pagodas, temples and monasteries built during the Bagan Dynasty. In spite of inclement weather of a thousand year, which had destroyed, the precious works of art, whatever survived to this day still thrill the beholders. Notable among the ancient glory are Shwezigone, Ananda, Thabyinnyu and Dhammayangyi.
After unifying the country, Anawrahta accomplished another noble deed for the country: he introduced Tharavada Buddhism into Myanmar with the help of Shin Arahan, a missionary monk from Thaton. It was Buddhism that influenced the rulers of Bagan Dynasty to build innumerable pagodas and temples in and around the city. The endless pagodas stand testimony to the rich cultural heritage of the Myanmars and also to the beauty and grandeur of ancient pagoda.
Amarapura was also a capital and its meaning is the city of Immortality but its period as capital was brief. It was the site for the first British Embassy in Myanmar. The main live hood of inhabitants is weaving cotton and silk into Myanmarâ€™s loveliest festive clothing. The tour is interesting of observing weaving workshops and the major attractions of Amarapura are Mahagandayon Monastery, the presence of up to 1200 monks, contributes to the religious atmosphere of city and a world longest wooden footbridge (1 km) named U Bein Bridge. Walking over U Bein gives you refreshment and memorable moments of Myanmar in your life.
One of the finest, largest and best preserved of the Bagan temples, the Ananda suffered considerable damage in 1975 earthquake and in 1979 reconstruction took place. Built in 1091 by Kyanzittha, the temple is said to represent the endless wisdom of the Buddha. The central square has sides of 53 metres (175 feet) and rises in terraces to a hit 51 metres (168 feet) above the ground. In the center of the cube, four standing Buddhas, nine and a half metres (30 feet) high, represent the four Buddhas who have attained Nirvana. Only those facing north and south are original, the east and west facing images are replacements for the figures destroyed by fires. The base and the terraces are decorated with a great number of glazed tiles showing scenes from the Jataka. In the western sanctum, there are life size statues of the temple's founder and his Primate, while in the west porch there are two footprints of the Lord Buddha, on pedestals.
The highest temple in Bagan, the "omniscient" temple rises to 61 metres (200 feet) and was built by Alaungsithu around the mid-12th century. Repairs to earthquake damage were being completed in 1979. Slightly south-west of the Thatbyinnyu in a monastery compound there is stone supports which once held the temple's huge bronze bell. Northeast of the temple stands a small "tally pagoda" which was built of one brick for every 10,000 bricks used in the main temple.
Kyanzittha Umin, built into a cliff face close to the Shwezigon, the long, dimly lit corridors are decorated with frescoes and 12th century mural painting. There are small meditation cellars. Unlike other caves in Bagan which were caved into the sand stone hill, this U Min is built of brick.
Lawkananda pagoda, distinctive elongated cylindrical dome shape, located on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, was built in 1059 by King Anawrahta. The pagoda has enshrined the Buddha's tooth relic in Bagan. The riverside view from Lawkananda are unforgettable scenes.
Close to Wetkyi-in village, 13th century cave temple has an Indian style spire and famous for its fine stucco (plaster curving) work. To distinguish it from the temple of the same name in Myinkaba, this monument is sometimes called Wetkyi-in Gubyaukgyi
Shwegugyi, means Great Golden Cave, built by Alaungsithu in 1311. It is also notable for its fine stucco carvings and for the stone slabs in the inner wall that tell its history, including the fact that its construction took seven and a half months.
Manuha was named after the Mon King from Thaton, who was held captive in Bagan by Anawrahata. Legend says that Manuha was allowed to build this temple in 1059, and that he constructed it to represent his displeasure at captivity. Inside the temple, three seated Buddhas face the front of the building, and in the back there’s a huge reclining Buddha. All seem too large for their enclosures, and their cramped, uncomfortable positions are said to represent the stress and lack of comfort the captive king had to endure.
Sulamani Temple, known as Small Ruby Temple stands beyond Dhammayangyi Temple, built by King Narapatisithu (1174-1211). The temple features two storeys standing on broad terraces assembled to create a pyramid effect. On the ground floor, a vaulted corridor runs around the central pile of solid brickworks. Buddha images are seated there facing each of the cardinal points. The inner walls were once decorated with paintings but except for a few patches of ink painting, no trace of great artistic value remains after years of abandonment. The brickwork throughout is considered some of the best in Bagan
Gadawtpalin is the temple from the later period of the Bagan realm. Built by Narapatisithu and finished under Nadaungmya (1211-34). It was severely damaged during the earthquake of 1975, but was reconstructed in early 1980s. The temple is similar to the Thatbyinnyu cube shape, with Buddha images on the four sides of the ground floor, with several refinements.
Bu Pagoda (a gourd shape pagoda), cylindrical Pyu-style stupa is situated right on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. It is said to be the oldest temple in Bagan and was destroyed when it tumbled into the river in the 1975 earthquake, but has since been totally rebuilt. Bu Paya is one of sunset-viewing spot in Bagan.
Shwesandaw Pagoda is a graceful circular stupa, built by King Anawrahta after his conquest of Thaton in 1057. The pagoda bell rises from two octagonal bases, which top the five square terraces. The upper terrace of Shwesandaw Pagoda is one of the best places to enjoy sunset amongst the ruins of ancient temples and pagodas across a vast and plain land.
The Bagan Archaeological Museum is situated within old Bagan city to the South West closed to the Gadotpalin Pagoda not only grand in a imposing but also adorned inside and outside with Myanmar decorated art. It makes an interesting introduction before start exploring the actual sites. The central gallery contains a large number of religious images and other fine works found in temples around Bagan, including arts and crafts, stone inscriptions, painting depicted the social life, Military matters and weapon model of Bagan period in the respective displayed rooms, paintings of Pagodas, Buddha Images with different posture of Mudra made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, wood etc. There is also a small exhibit on the 1975 earthquake. Actually, these entire exhibit displayed in Bagan Archaeological Museum are witnessing high great the Myanmar culture standard work.
It is a small town about 15 km south of Bagan, down the Ayeyarwaddy River. U Pone Nya Museum, formerly the Yoke Sone Monastery, exhibits antique lacquer-wares, wooden relieves and a large standing gilded Buddha image. The figures carved outside the front of the building are worth seeing. Yoke Sone Monastery, which is the oldest existing monastery built entirely with teak wood. It has 154 teak posts and decorated with beautiful wood-carvings. Man Paya, a largest Lac Buddha image, 6 meter high, dated from the 13th century is the famous in Sale. Along the route return to Bagan through Chauk, where it will see old Burma Oil installations ('nodding donkeys') along the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River.