Temples of Bagan
Over 2,200 Buddhist ruins vie for attention in the fields of Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan. Each seems to whisper secrets of its past, never revealing the full story. With scattered records and few definite answers, Bagan remains somewhat a mystery to historians and visitors alike. Out of this mystery emerges legends and folklore. Take for instance the Dhammayangyi Temple, the largest remaining temple in Bagan. It echoes a gruesome past. King Narathu built the temple to repent for murdering his father, brother and a wife. The legend is that Narathu's wickedness was so perpetual that he chopped off the hands of temple masons for faulty workmanship. Then there is Ananda Pahto, one of the largest and best preserved temples in Bagan. The story goes that King Kyanzittha was so inspired by the tale of eight monks meditating in the Himalayas that he built the temple to emulate the scale and coolness of the mountains. To this day, Ananda Pahto dominates the temple fields of Bagan. In 2011, The Archeological Survey of India pledged money to renovate and restore the Ananda Pahto. These legends are about just two of Bagan's myriad temples that lie densely packed along the banks of Myanmar's Irrawaddy River.
For more than 200 years leading to 1287, Burmese kings commissioned over 4,000 Buddhist temples around Bagan – a building fest triggered by the region’s shift from Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism to Theravada Buddhism. At its peak, Bagan was a vibrant religious and cultural center. The exact cause of Bagan’s decline is contested, but a combination of invasions and natural disasters (most recently a 6.5 Richter scale earthquake in 1975) compromised original structures and drastically reduced the population. Despite the physical damage, Bagan still holds the world's most concentrated area of Buddhist religious structures. In 1990, in an effort to convert the area to an archeological zone and tourist destination, the government relocated all remaining inhabitants of Bagan to New Bagan. However, Bagan continues to woo visitors with ruins yearning to share tales of the past.
Most of Bagan’s temple grounds are quiet and open for exploration. There are minimal barriers between visitors and the ancient ruins, particularly at the less visited temples. A handful of temples draw tour groups. The others are either completed deserted or guarded by a watchman who, if befriended, is happy to unlock the gates for a private tour. Those visitors who brave the dark staircases and are willing to wander through narrow passageways are often rewarded with intimate places to view the plains. Bagan seems to take on different personalities throughout the day. As the sun ascends, it reveals layers upon layers of temples, beginning in a pink hue at dawn and glowing red in the mid-day heat. Dusk casts a golden spell on the brick ruins.
Unlike ancient sites that have long been explored, Bagan is relatively new to mass tourism and it is still possible to visit the temples of Bagan at a leisurely pace. For a bird’s eye view of the region, go on a sunrise hot air balloon ride.
Where to Stay
When to Go
You may also like:
- No live matches are in progress.
- vs. MUMKOLMatch 1Wed, Apr 08, 2015Wed, Apr 08, 2015Kolkata, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- vs. DELCHEMatch 2Thu, Apr 09, 2015Thu, Apr 09, 2015Chennai, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- vs. RAJMOHMatch 3Fri, Apr 10, 2015Fri, Apr 10, 2015Pune, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
Latest Photo Albums
The day after winning the World Cup, Australia's cricket team celebrates its win with fans in Melbourne. More » Australia's World Cup Celebration
Australia celebrate their World Cup win with family, support staff and beers. More » The World Cup After-Party
The clinching moment and the trophy shots at the World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne. More » World Cup: The Winning Moments
The key numbers from the tournament that Australia won. More » World Cup 2015: The Top Stats
Moments to remember the title clash by. Text by AR Hemant
Yahoo! Cricket’s World Cup Final Wrap:
In case you missed the live action, this gallery could give you a sense of how the teams fared at their day at office. Despair for one side, delight for the other.
Follow ball-by-ball commentary on Yahoo Cricket. More » Australia Vs New Zealand World Cup Final: Fall of wickets
Supporters came in huge numbers to support their squads in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup final match between Australia and New Zealand at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. More » Quirky, sporty, sexy: Fans dress up for World Cup Finals
Australia's Michael Clarke and New Zealand's Brendon McCullum get a look at the prize they'll be fighting for at the MCG tomorrow morning. More » The World Cup Showdown
Action images from the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. [Scores] More » World Cup, 2nd Semifinal: Australia vs India
Grant Elliott sealed a thrilling semifinal win for New Zealand, smashing South Africa's Dale Steyn for a big six off the penultimate delivery. Elliott later consoled a devasted Steyn, who had collapsed on the pitch. More » Steyn vs Elliott: The World Cup Semifinal's Top Moment
Action images from the match at the Eden Park, Auckland. [Scores] More » World Cup, 1st Semifinal: New Zealand vs South Africa
Pakistan's Wahab Riaz delivered one of the great World Cup bowling performances in the quarterfinal against Australia. Sadly for him, his lion-hearted efforts didn't translate into a win for his team. The left-arm pacer's short-pitched bowling accounted for David Warner and Michael Clarke. He could have … More » World Cup: Wahab's Incredible Spell Against Australia
Martin Guptill broke a bunch of records as he smashed West Indies for 237 in the World Cup quarterfinal in Wellington. More » Top Scores in ODIs
Action images from the match at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington. [Scores] More » World Cup, 4th Qurterfinal: New Zealand vs West Indies