Sunday, April 9, 2017


Since my hotel was right in the center of Old Bagan and the ancient walled city, I focused on the temples of the immediate area of the walled city. Of course I had to start my visit to Bagan at the most important temple, which to me was Andanda Pagoda. It is one of Myanmar's most revered shrines. So, after figuring out how to move around Bagan, I set off on my e-bike, a scooter looking electric bike. I also left quite early to beat the crowds and was at Ananda before the souvenir stands actually opened. 

I personally find Ananda Pagoda amazing with it's four huge standing Buddha images. As with most temples I spent a lot of time inside the galleries. 

Tharaba Gate and the Wall itself were a quick stop on the way back inside the walled city before I looked for Ananda Ok-Kyaung, the Ananda monastery. However that was completely closed due to earthquake damage. Following my plan, I visited Pitakat-Taik, the amazing Shwegu-Gyi (which turned out to be one of my favourite temples), Mahazedi, Pahto-Thamya, Nga-Kwe-Nadaung and a brief look at Nat-Hlaung-Kyaung, which would have been nice to see inside, but it was also closed due to earthquake damage. Thatbyinnyu, Mahabodhi and the inside of Gawdaw-Palin (which I had visited briefly the night before) were all the temples I saw before lunch break. It was getting too hot to go around the dusty roads of Bagan. 

After lunch I set off freely just going down the roads and saw a nice group of temples south of the wall, called TaWaGu Group, visited Mimalaung Kyaung and then did an early scouting of the famous Shwesandaw Pagaoda. I had read that it is the ultimate temple for sunrise and sunset. The upper level was also closed off due to earthquake repair work, but the view from the two lower platforms was amazing. And it was really quiet about 60-90 minutes before sunset. The closer we got to sunset the more people gathered on the platforms, some even trying to remove the barriers which the working crew had put in place for the top platform. It was far too many people for my taste, though the sunset was nice to see. My guess is, after reading the Myanmar news sites, that sooner or later this option of watching the sunset from up here will no longer exist. Having hundreds of more or less dressed tourists ascend on a pagoda which enshrines a sacred hair relic of the Buddha is something impossible to imagine for other Buddhist countries. 

All in all a very busy first day!

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