Explore 10 Famous Temples & Pagodas in Bagan

06 Jun 2019 by Admin

If Angkor in Cambodia expresses its sophistication in stones and bricks, Bagan Myanmar is the embodiment of immense and taciturn beauty with numerous sacred temples and pagodas.

best temples in bagan

From Nyaung U town, the first place where visitors feel the shadow of glorious past in the Buddhist land of Bagan are clusters of Lawkachanthar - Thagyarhit – Thagyarpone under the red brick sunlight gleaming the color of time of the ancient city.

Now, let's take a look at the collection of 10 most famous temples and pagodas in Bagan that own not only high artistic value but historical significance.

1. Ananda Temple

Ananda is considered as the most beautiful temple in Bagan with 4 large gold Buddha statues placed in four directions. Besides, Burmese also call this pagoda Ananda Pahto or Ananda Phaya. Ananda Pagoda is a single storey structure which was built towards the end of the early Bagan era. The architecture of the pagoda is influenced by Mon and North Indian style.

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The most special feature is the gilded sikhara, the tower like spire on top of the pagoda. You can even the reflection of the gilded sikhara from miles away over the Bagan plain. At the night, the monk will light the Ananda Pagoda up which creates mysterous atmosphere.

In which the Buddha statue in the south is introduced that when walking towards the Buddha to pray, always smile to have a peacful mind. Four Buddha images erected in four directions are those who achieved Nirvana.

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2. Htilominlo Temple

Htilominlo - a majestic and exquisite temple was built under the order of King Zeya Theinkha. According to his father’s desire, Theinkha is the most deserving person. But to be fair, he chose a successor in accordance to his family’s tradition by using a white umbrella. It would be placed among princes and which direction the umbrella leaned towards, that person would be selected.

Htilominlo has similar design to Sulamani Temple. Inside the 46 - metre - high temple, which is similar in design to Sulamani Temple, there are four Buddhas statues inside the 46 - metre - high temple which are located on the lower and upper floors. You can also see existing traces of old murals. Besides, the outer decorations are still well - preserved.

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3. Sulamani Temple

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Sulamani temple was built under the reign of King Narapat in 1183. It was decorated by the exquisite paintings both on the outer walls and inside the construction which are differ from other buidings in Bagan. When getting into this thousand-year-old temple, you will feel like getting lost in the ancient time of Bagan.

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A gilded Buddha statue inside Sulamani Temple

4. Dhammayangyi Temple

Dhammayangyi Temple is largest temple in Bagan having the pyramid - like apperance. Especially, the temple has no top as other temples. The temple was built under the reign of King Narathu in 1167 after he murdered his father. Narathu seized the throne and built with only red bricks without grout. Legend said that the temple remained uncompleted due to the death of king Narathu, which was the reason why it had no top as other temples in Bagan.

There are also many stories behind the temple of Dhammayangyi including the haunting mystery. Find out in Dhammayangyi Temple - The Haunted Temple of Bagan.

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5. Thatbyinnyu Temple

As the highest temple in the windy land, Thatbyinnyu is impressed by its arrays of tiles painted with the color of ancientness. From the distance, the temple stands out proudly admist the ancient land of Bagan.

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6. Gubyaukgyi Temple

The building preserves the oldest and most beautiful mural paintings in Bagan. Visiting here, you will have a chance to know more about the history, culture as well as the traditions of Burmese people through the walls' frescoes. Furthermore, you will explore Gubyaukgyi temple by torchlight as they keep the it dark to preserve the murals in the best condition. You must leave your camera and other devices with built - in flash in the lockers before entering the site. 

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Gubyaukgyi temple - one of the best temples to visit in Bagan 

7. Myazedi Pagoda

Located right next to Gubyaukgyi temple is the shimmering Myazedi Pagoda where the oldest stone inscription in Myanmar was found. It was inscribed by Prince Yazakumar in 4 languages of ancient Pali, Mon, old Burmese and Pyu in 1113. The stone carving played an important role in helping the archaeologists decoding the ancient Pyu language.

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8. Shwesandaw Pagoda

Shwesandaw pagoda is popular to tourists by its outstanding architecture of 5 terraces. The temple was used to be one of the best places to watch sunrise and sunset in Bagan. Hence, since the Government forbid visitors from climbing on temples for their own safety and for the proctection of the religious sites, all temples in Bagan, including this magnificent one close the stairways to the top.

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The beautiful Shwesandaw pagoda at sunrise

Still, the temple is well worth a visit for the amazing structure and the beautiful Buddhist artifacts inside. 

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A huge reclining Buddha image will be found inside the stupa

9. Bupaya Pagoda

If you go on a Myanmar river cruise, you may notice a very unique and impressive site of Bagan's temple plain located by the Irrawaddy river - Bupaya Pagoda. This gilded stupa was reconstructed completely after the horrendous earthquake in 1975. Bupaya stupa is also believed to preserve Buddha's relics and one of the must - visited site in Bagan.

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A stunning view of Bupaya pagoda from the cruise on the river

10. Shwezigon Pagoda

The golden pagoda of Shwezigon originates from the golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Unlike the magnificent Shwedagon, Shwezigon brings a sense of peace though it is very large. Legend said that more than 30 tons of gold was plated and thousands of precious stones were mounted on the top. Visiting the temple to find a small corner for watching the sunset and enjoy the peace of mind are also interesting experiences for visitors. 

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» Check out more things to see & do in Myanmar with the best suggestions as well as experts' guides.

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