A day in Bagan will help you figure out many interesting things in this sacred city. Bagan (formerly known as Pagan) is an ancient city in Myanmar, once the capital of the Pagan dynasty (existing from the 9th – 13th centuries), the city was built in the middle of the 9th century. There are 2,500 Buddhist temples, shrines, towers, and monasteries, and about 2,000 temples are still preserved, showing that this was once a major Buddhist center comparable to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
A Day in Bagan – Forgotten Land of Myanmar
As Go Travel experience, before tourists start a day in Bagan, they might learn some basic information about this city. It spreads across the arid plains on the east bank of the Ayeyarwady River in central Myanmar, 145km southwest of central Mandalay, Bagan is a small town in the Mandalay region with an area of about 25 square miles (about 40 km²). Bagan is also an important archaeological area of Myanmar, where the convergence of unique temple architecture, is once the most famous in Southeast Asia.
As the capital of this mighty dynasty for more than two centuries, Bagan concentrates on massive architectural masterpieces whose value is comparable to the two great Buddhist temple complexes, Angkor Wat of Cambodia and Angkor Wat of Cambodia and Borobudur temple in Central Java island (Indonesia). After the Pagan dynasty was destroyed and the capital Pagan was destroyed, the construction of religious buildings here almost stopped for a long time. From the 15th to the 20th centuries, only about 200 new temples were recorded.
1. Nyaung U market – Nyaung U town
Nyaung U is the largest town in the Bagan region, located in the Northeastern corner of Bagan, on the Irrawaddy River. Most cheap hotels are located in Nyaung U. Buses from Yangon, Mandalay, and Inle Lake also stop in Niangwu. There are also many restaurants and local markets in Nyaung U that you must explore in a day in Bagan.
Tourists may learn a lot about local life even in a day in Bagan if they travel to this market. Nyaung U market of this town is organized into sections to offer various types of items, and travelers may find anything fresh here, particularly at the seafood market.
Longyi (traditional Burmese sarong), contemporary garments, vegetables and fruits, fresh seafood, fish, and meat from the markets are among the items available to tourists at this market. From bamboo and rattan goods to tea leaves – one of Myanmar’s most recognized specialties. Furthermore, there is much exquisite native pottery handcrafted by residents here that you may buy as mementos for your friends and family.
Starting a day in Bagan at Nyaung U Market is a fantastic choice. This is the finest time to photograph the market’s local merchants and residents. Nyaung U is close to a major road. As a result, travelers may simply take a cab or horse-drawn carriage from the airport.
2. Shwezigon Pagoda
A day in Bagan would not be complete without seeing the Buddhist temples after the Nyaung U local market. Tourists may continue to the iconic Shwezigon Pagoda, Bagan’s most prominent shrine and the abode of 37 Nats. Shwezigon Pagoda, also known as Shwezigon Paya, is a Buddhist pagoda in the town of Nyaung-U, near Bagan.
This temple is modeled after the ancient Burmese stupa construction. This is one of Bagan’s most well-known Buddhist sites, demonstrating the intimate relationship between Theravada Buddhism and the traditional Burmese religion. The pagoda is in the middle of a wide platform surrounded by temples and pagodas. Shwezigon Pagoda is a golden stupa with a cylindrical shape.
A central stairway guarded by Makaras (sea monsters in Hindu mythology) leads to the summit of the stairs on all four sides of the temple. King Kyansittha gave a stone pillar carved with the name Mon to the grounds of Shwezigon Pagoda. Shwezigon Pagoda is fascinating at night because it is beautifully lit by moonlight.
3. Gubyaukgyi Temple
Tourists can continue a day in Bagan by seeing another famous old temple, Gubyaukgyi Temple, before stopping for lunch. Gubyaukgyi Temple is a Buddhist temple in Myinkaba hamlet, which is located south of Bagan. It was constructed around 1113 AD. Gubyaukgyi is a cave temple, and the initial syllable of the temple’s name (“gu”) translates to “cave”. This temple is famous for the Burmese collection’s largest and best-preserved murals on the inside walls.
Tourists are not permitted to carry cameras inside, so bring a flashlight to appreciate the splendor of this temple. Interior walls and ceilings are adorned with fragments of old paintings showing scenes from the Jataka tales, which tell of the Buddha’s previous incarnations. All the paintings have ink captions written in Old Mon, making this one of the oldest evidence of the language’s use in Myanmar.
4. Ananda Temple
Because of its symmetrical structure and Greek diagonal pattern, Ananda Temple is regarded as one of the most beautiful and sacred temples in Bagan. The tale of Buddha is presented through 554 ceramic tiles on the stairs as you enter the temple. There are four Buddha sculptures nearly 10m tall within Ananda Pagoda: Kassapa Buddha faces south, Kakusandha Buddha faces north, Konagamana Buddha faces east, and Gautama Buddha faces west.
It is a well-known architectural marvel and one of the four must-see temples in Bagan, along with Shwezigon Pagoda, Dhammayangyi Pagoda, and Shwesandaw Pagoda. The temple is illuminated with brilliant lights in the evening, providing a beautiful ambiance for a day in Bagan.
The best time for you to travel to Ananda Temple is from October to February because at this time the weather will be pretty cool with low rainfall. Following the rule in temples in Bagan, you are allowed to visit the temples with their bare feet and must leave all footwear outside. Shorts and skirts are also not recommended when visiting the temple.
5. Shwesandaw Pagoda
A day in Bagan concludes with a visit to Shwesandaw Pagoda, where you may witness the gorgeous sunset. The temple is located in Bagan’s heart. When visiting this location, travelers may also observe local ladies wearing necklaces based on their age in the surrounding historic hamlet, which is a pleasant experience. Furthermore, hot air ballooning is a must-try unique experience a day in Bagan, a natural highlight of this historic city’s splendor.
After a long day of seeing Bagan, travelers may unwind at Shwesandaw Pagoda by watching the dawn or sunset. The attractive temple is not only a wonderful spot to discover the amazing building, but it is also a site to take the greatest images in the neighborhood compared to other temples.
With the most intriguing destinations for this 1-day Bagan trip, you should have a fantastic experience exploring the historical beauty and gratifying your curiosity with the world’s oldest civilization, and have witnessed Bagan’s traditional way of life. Let’s pack your things and start a day in Bagan with Go Travel right now!
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