The ancient city of Bagan has been considered as the most important tourist side of Myanmar. The city houses more than 2,200 splendid temples, pagodas, and stupas remaining today, representing the rich Buddhist culture of Myanmar. Here are the most typical religious structures you must visit in your Myanmar guided tours to Bagan.
1. Ananda Temple (Old Bagan)
It may be considered as the most sacred temple in Bagan, famous for its unique architecture. The spires are covered in gold sparkling in the sunlight. Around the outside of the inner passage are 4 standing Buddha statues facing the four points of the compass. It’s said that each of these statues represents different parts of Buddha’s teachings. Terraces and the base are paved with glazed tiles. Around the inner courtyard, you can find the sophisticated reliefs. It’s interesting that Buddha statues in Ananda will appear to scowl if you watch them from afar; however, the closer you go, the broader the smile becomes until it’s a full grin. To make the design of the temple so unique, King Kyanzittha executed all of the architects. The architectural masterpiece proudly holds the title as the best preserved and most beautiful in the ancient city where you can not miss in your Myanmar guided tours to Bagan.
2. Dhammayangyi Temple (Old Bagan)
Standing out by its imposing structure, Dhammayangyi Temple is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bagan. You will feel surreal as if you were in one of the Hollywood films when stepping on long and narrow corridors with an extremely high ceiling during your Myanmar travel. In your Myanmar guided tours to Bagan, the guide will tell you the dark and grim history of this temple. It is built by the sadistic King Narathu who killed his own father, wife, and brother. Legends say that building of this temple was so demanding, and a great number of slaves were killed as they did not meet the strict demand of the tyrant king. Local people believe that the Dhammayangyi Temple is haunted by the slaves’ spirits.
3. Shwesandaw Pagoda (Old Bagan)
Do not neglect Shwesandaw Pagoda in your Myanmar guided tours to the ancient city as it’s most ideal place to enjoy the stunning sunrise and the sunset in Bagan, and the panoramic view from this pagoda is purely breathtaking and majestic. It was built by King Anawrahta, founder of first Burmese Kingdom after he had conquered then Mon Capital, Thaton. However, reaching the top of the pagoda is not easy, which will take you a lot of energy.
4. Shwezigon Pagoda (Nyaung U & Wetkyi-in)
The pagoda is very popular to both local travelers and monks, as it is considered to be the most significant monument for Theravada Buddhism in Bagan, newly found recently. Visitors often say that Shwezigon Pagoda particularly resembles the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. In fact, they should say in opposite way since it was built in the earlier period than the masterpiece of Yangon. Its graceful bell shape became a prototype for almost all pagodas built later throughout Myanmar.
5. Sulam NEW Gupha Temple (Minnanth a)
The red-brick temple often receives little tourists’ concern; however, it’s a hidden treasure. Sulamani, built by King Narapatisithu, houses some of the finest ornamental works of Bagan which are carved on pediments, mouldings, and pilasters. The interior face of walls was once decorated with a hundred of beautiful monastic cells, which is a unique feature among the ancient monasteries in Bagan. Guphaya in the Burmese language means “small ruby” and the name is really suitable for this place. A visit to the treasure still unrevealed to mass tourism will be certainly a new experience in your Burma tours.
6. Thatbyinnyu Temple (Nyaung U & Wetkyi-In)
The temple is so carefully done that a knife blade can’t get through slits among bricks. Unfortunately, climbing up the temple is now prohibited because an earthquake occurring many years ago made it unstable. However, the tallest temples of the ancient city is still worth a visit in your Myanmar guided tours to Bagan as it’s a great places to take the best pictures no matter which angle you aim through your camera.
It can be said that Bagan is the most characteristic Buddhism Kingdom than any others in the world such as Angkor Wat or temples in Laos and China. A visit to Bagan in your Myanmar tours to admire these temples will make you better understand the Buddhist spirituality in the Golden Temple Country.