10 Must Visit Bagan Temples and Pagodas

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Posted by geemiz | Posted in Myanmar | Posted on 12-01-2017

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Bagan is an ancient city in Myanmar. There are about over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries built between the 11th and 13th centuries in the city. Presently there are over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive.

Must See Bagan Temples

Mode of Transportation to Tour around Bagan

Transportation Number of People Cost
Horse Carriage 3-4 persons 20,000 Kyat or 16USD
Truck 6-8 persons 20,000 Kyat or 16USD
Air conditioned van 6-8 persons 55,000 Kyat or 45 USD
E-bike 2 persons 10,000 Kyat or 8 USD
Bicycle 1 person 1000 – 2000Kyat

What is the difference among temples, pagodas, stupas and monasteries?

  • Temple – Is a building for worship. It can be 1 story or multistory.
  • Pagoda – It is a multistory Buddhist tower.
  • Monastery – Is a place where monks and nuns live and work.
  • Stupa – It is a Buddhist commemorative monument that housed sacred relics associated with Buddha.

10 Must See Temples of Bagan

There are many Bagan attractions and the famous of all is visiting the temples scattered in both Old Bagan and New Bagan. Here are 10 temples you should not miss when in Bagan, Myanmar.

Ananda Temple

One of the many pretty temples in Bagan. It reflects a unique combination of Mon and Indian architecture. It is most famous because of the 4 grand Buddha statues facing each direction North, South, East, West. Two of these statues are original and date back to the 12th century, while the other two are replacements after the originals were destroyed by fire.  King Kyanzittha instructed 8 monks to supervise and act as architect and build the temple. The king wanted the temple to be unique so he had the 8 monks killed.

Ananda Temple

 

Dhammayangyi Temple

This temple was never completed as you see unlike the other temples there is no Hti (umbrella looking pointed structure on top of the temples in Myanmar) in it. King Narathu built this temple. He killed his father and brother to ascend in the throne, a typical monarch family scenario. The temple has the finest brickwork in Bagan and this is because the King ordered to execute any worker who deviates from the standards of laying the bricks so close to one another that even an ant could not pass through it. King Narathu was killed inside the Dhammayangyi temple by the assassins sent by the King of Ceylon. The King of Ceylon is the father of the queen, wife of King Narathu whom he killed for practicing Hindu rituals.

Dhammayangyi Temple

 

Gawdawplin Pagoda

The temple of forgiveness.  King Narapatisithu built this pagoda in 1175. The king went blind as punishment for a terrible crime he committed against his ancestors. Brahmen astrologers counseled the King to make amends by giving high regards and atonement to his forebears. Astonishingly the King gained sight.

Gawdawplin Pagoda

 

Htilminlo Guphaya Temple

The temple was built in 1211-1231 by King Htilominlo (also known as Nandaungmya). The temples elaborate plaster moldings make it famous. Like the other temples in Bagan it has four Buddhas that face each direction.

Htilminlo Pagoda

 

Mahabodhi Temple

It is built in the mid-13th century during the reign of King Htilominlo. It is modeled after the Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar, India. It contains a large pyramidal tower with many niches containing over 450 images of Buddha. The temple literally means “Great Awakening Temple”.

Mahabodhi Temple

 

Pyathatgyi Temple

Pyathatgyi temple is the last great construction of the dynasty of Bagan and is built by King Kya Swa. It is one of the most massive monuments in Bagan but smaller than the Dhammayangyi Temple. It is a good place for sunset.

Pyathatgyi Temple or Pyathatdar

 

Shwesandaw Pagoda

One of the first pagodas built by King Anawrahta in 1057. He is the founding father of the Burmese nation. This temple is famous for sunset and sunrise. It is indeed a good spot so tourist flocks the area so stay a little bit longer to enjoy the view of vast planes planted with tiny and medium size temples and pagodas. Be careful with the very steep stairs to reach the top.

Shwesandaw Pagoda

 

Shwezigon Pagoda

Shewzigon pagoda meaning “pagoda on a dune” is built and started by King Anawrahta and finished by his son King Kyansittha. The pagoda is a replica of the pyramidal Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, the location of Buddha’s illuminating realization in India. Even with several renovations the pagoda’s bottom level terraces have remained mostly in their original form.

Shwezigon Pagoda

 

Sulamani Guphaya Temple

Built by King Narapatisithu. The temple is called Sulamani because it is where the King found the Sulamani – meaning small ruby. What’s refreshing about this temple is the frescos (wall paintings) inside that are preserved for over a thousand years.

Sulamani Temple

 

That byin Nyu Temple

Thatbyinnyu Temple is a four storeyed temple with seven terraces. This is the tallest temple in Bagan standing graciously at 61 meters high. It is a perfect place to view Bagan in 360 degrees but an earthquake makes it impossible for a single soul to climb on top.

That Byin Nyu Temple

 

What you need for Bagan temple hopping?

  1. Water – You will be walking in and out of temples and pagodas endlessly the whole day.
  2. Sunscreen – Temperature in Bagan is hot.
  3. Hat – It’s really freaking hot in Myanmar.
  4. Money – Though there is No entrance fee but you need to try street food and might like some souvenirs.
  5. Camera – Let’s not forget to capture memories.
  6. Light clothing – To cover knees and shoulder. But I highly advised to wear something that covers up your knees and shoulders.

Top 10 Temples in Bagan

All temples are perfectly beautiful. It is advisable to stay in Bagan for at least 3 days to visit most of the temples. Hot Air Ballooning in Bagan is one epic activity you can do. Flying above Bagan temples in hot air balloon is a strong reason that I need to go back to the beautiful city.

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Geezelle Tapangan - A Management Accounting and Accountancy Graduate. She reads a lot and co-founded Cebu Book Club. She is a dog and nature lover. Gzell blogs about Travel & Life experiences.

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