Bagan is one of the richest archaeological and historical sites in Asia, a large area with more than 2,000 pagodas and temple, all set in a vast plain beside the legendary Ayeyarwaddy River. During the Bagan Era (11th to 13th century), Burmese was written for the first time. Bagan was the origin of Buddhism , as still practiced nowadays, and was the seat of religious learning of clergy and laity. Mingalazedi is one of Bagan’s last great stupas to have been erected and is a fine example of the skills of the temple builders. It is also a favorite spot to catch the sunset. Foreign visitors to Bagan can be found on the steep steps waiting for the magical moment; as the sun sinks behind the already misty Ayeyarwaddy, cameras click almost simultaneously. Bagan now features a variety of good hotels of various standards. It is also the starting/ending point of cruises on the Ayeyarwaddy River linking Bagan with Mandalay. A unique travel experience is a hot-air balloon flight over the Archaeological Zone which is available during the winter months.
Attractions and Around
This golden pagoda was the first monument built in the style, the prototype for later pagodas.It was first built by King Anawrahta and completed by king Kyansittha in 1087.’Nat’(spirit) image can be found withing its precincts.
The Thatbyinnyu Temple, a white stucco building, is the Bagan’s Highest pagoda.It was built by King Alaungsithu in mid-12th century.The view from its terraces is spectacular Both at dawn and dusk.
This 13th century temple is like Thatbyinnyu, about 60 meters high with a fine view of the bagan.
Bangan’s most massive temple, Dhammayangyi Temple was was built by King Narathu in 1167 This temple was not finished but it displayed the finest brickwork.
This pagoda built by king Anawrahta in early 11th century displays a strong Mon influence with a steep stairway directly to the terraces for a superb view from the level.
A temple build in 1181 by king Narapatisithu is known for its murals dating from 11th-12 th century. Other attractions in Baganare Mingala zedi Pagoda,Manuha Temple,lawkananda Pagoda, and Bangan Archaeological Museum
Mount Popa is an extinct volcano and with 1,500 meters the highest point within the bago Yoma range. The main attraction of this region however is the smaller, 730-meter high conic rock Popa Taungkalat, also known as the “Olympus of the Nats” because it is the home of Myanmar’s legendary 37 ‘Nats” (or spirits). To reach the top of the volcanic plug with its many shrines and a monastery, one has to climb up 700 steep steps accompanied by a crowd of monkeys. This effort will be rewarded many times by the extraordinary panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Around the area of the Popa Yoma Mountain, there is the Popa National Park with dense sandalwood forests and rare species of birds and butterflies worth a walk or a trek. Other attractions include two important “ Nat Pwes” (or festivals) held each year when people from all parts of Myanmar come to appease and worship the spirits. These spirits are evoked by so-called “Nat Gadaws” (or mediums) and offer their bodies to get possessed. The nats still play an important part in many Myanmar people’s lives in spite of the dominance of Buddhism.