During your Myanmar travel, one place you should not miss to visit is Bagan. Bagan is the richest archiological site in South-East Asia. The remaining place of 11th -13th century pagodas, temples, monasteries and other religious evidences. Over 2000 pagodas & temples spread here and there beside of the Ayeyarwaddy river, the main river of Myanmar. The ravishing scenes and the panoramic view from the top of some high temple or pagoda is life time memorial. Myanmar travel!
One of the four famous pagodas in Bagan. This golden pagoda was the first monument built in the Myanmar style, the prototype of later pagodas. Shwezigon, means the golden pagoda on the sand bank. It was first built by the famous and important king Anawrathar who introduced Buddhism to Myanmar. He could not complete in his life time and his son, king Kyansittha finished it in 1087 AD. Nat (spirit) images can be found within its precincts. Inside four shrines in four directions, there are four standing Buddha of 11th century style and which were made of bronze. Myanmar travel!
Htilominlo temple is named after its builder, King Htilominlo in early 13th century. Htilominlo is one of the larger temples of Bagan. And the finest plaster carvings of Bagan can see in this temple as the original. Some horoscopes of important persons inscribed high up on the walls are interesting. “Htilominlo” means favoured by the King and favoured by umbrella. According to the chronicles, Htilominlo, a price of lesser rank, was chosen by the King to be his heir. Calling together Htilominlo and his four elder brother, the King set up the white umbrella, the symbol of kingship, in their mid and making a solemn vow, said “May the umbrella bend towards him who is worthy to be king” and the umbrella bent towards Htilominlo. Myanmar travel!
ANANDA, this white temple is the most beautiful temple of Bagan. Ananda means the “Endless wisdom of Buddha” and the King Kyansittha built it and completed in 1090 AD. The plan of temple is a Greek Cross and it has two corridors inside. On the walls of these two corridors, there are many tiny niches in which there are Sand stone Buddha images and stories of Buddha from his birth to Nibana. In the centre of the main block, there are four 31 feet high Buddha images facing to four directions. The faces of these Buddha images are wonderfully illumined by light filtering in from dormer windows above. The Ananda seems like a magic cave full of wonders. There is also a vast collection of green glazed terracotta plaques in the Ananda. Myanmar travel!
Towering above the other monuments of Bagan and the highest temple of Bagan. It was built by King Alaung Sithu in 12th century. Thatbyinnyu temple is a transitional temple, standing between the Early Style and Late Style. Myanmar travel!
If you stay in Bagan about 3 days, you can visit Minnanthu village to skip the full day sightseeing of Pagodas. Minnanthu village, is one of the old village since ancient time. About 10 minutes from Bagan. In this village, we can see the daily life of local people that how they bring the water, how they collect the crops, how they crash the peanuts, haw they feed the cattles and so on…Visiting before sunset is nice.
Half day trip to Mt.Popa from Bagan is interesting. Just about an hour drive from Bagan. Mt.Popa, is an extinct volcano about 50 km southeast of Bagan. It is the legendary home of the ‘nats’ or spirits and till now the famous Nat festivals are held every year and many visitors come from the whole Myanmar. The name “Popa” derived from Sanscript language means mountain of flowers. Mt.Popa region is an oasic of middle plain region around Bagan. So, the temperature around Mt.Popa is pleasant the whole year. Because of the volcanic ash, the soil in Popa region is very fertile and can grow many kinds of flowers, fresh fruits. Myanmar travel!
On the way to Mt.Popa, there are many fields of peanut, seasoms, peas, and palm trees fields. You can stop for short visit to see how to pick up crops, palm juice, how to make brown sugar from palm juice, how to make the villager’s whisky from brown sugar and life of farmers along the raod. Myanmar travel!
If you have extra day in Bagan, you can go and visit Salay. Salay is a rich old religious center located on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, about 15km, 1 and half hours drive from south of Bagan. Small charming town Salay is the native town of one famous poet, U Pone Nya during our King’s period. You can continue to Salay from Mt.Popa (about 1 ½ hour) drive. On the way to Sale, you can feel the life of middle country. In Salay you can visit numerous ancient monasteries, adorned with beautiful woodcarving, you can enjoy the beauty of this compact city of colonial buildings, monasteries and pagodas without crowded tourist. Myanmar travel!
One of the main famous attractions in Salay is "Yoke-Sone'' monastery, which is a cultural heritage site in Salay situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. It was built in AD 1882 and it has 154 teak posts and decorated with nice woodcarving and collection of palm-leaf manuscripts, Buddha images and lacquer-ware boxes, utensils of Yadanabon 19 century period. It is only one monastery with full of very detailed wood carvings about the life stories of Buddha. Myanmar travel!
Nearby the monastery, you can also visit the biggest lacquer Buddha statue in the country and so many beautiful colonial style monasteries. Myanmar travel!
If you continue your travel from Bagan to Monywa, you have to pass this town, Pakkoku. Pakkoku is another commercial town at the west of Ayayarwaddy river. Former time British made Pakkoku into a trading center on the river and there’s a distinct colonial influence to be found all around this small town. That un-spoiled small town famous as tobacco trading centre and many cotton blankets and cheroot making factory can also be observed here. The most famous local cosmestic, thanaka mainly planted around this area. You can also visit handmade workshop of papier mache although many family left the traditional profession. From Pakkoku to Bagan, you can take the boat trip along the Ayeyarwaddy river (about 2 hours). Myanmar travel!
On the way to Monywa, you can visit Maule village, near Yezakyo. This village is just beside the road. Around that area, many villagers do incense sticks, bamboo toys, bamboo hats and boxes. You can visit some of these hand made work shops in village. Nearby village there are groups of ancient pagodas and temples dated back from centuries. You can study the collections of old things such as old Buddha images, old buddhist inscriptions.Myanmar travel!