This once splendid and glorious capital of the First Myanmar Empire is now a 42sq.km area along the east bank of Ayeyarwaddy River. This plain dotted with thousands of ancient pagodas, shrines, ordination halls and monuments which are now in all stages of decay were erected mostly from the 11th to 13th centuries A.D. Tradition carried by the local chronicles, has it that a long line of fifty-five kings ruled over this kingdom during the twelve centuries.Now, It is the most amazing site in Myanmar as in every direction we look, we will see ruins of all sizes huge and glorious towards the sky, and small, graceful pagodas, temples stand alone in the fields. Some come with all manner of historical tales, while others are identified only by a number. Time, man and nature, particularly earthquakes, have taken their roll but the most important monuments have been restored to their original grandeur. So, we can be specified as one of the richest archeological sites in South East Asia.The monuments have the distinct features according to their period.
The golden Shwezigon pagoda
The golden Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan is one of the most significant religious buildings in Myanmar, for it served as a prototype for later stupas built throughout the country and marked an important development in the relationship between traditional Burmese religion and Theravada Buddhism.
Ananda templ was the first of the great temples at Bagan and is one of the most largest and most beautiful. This symmetrical masterpiece was built around 1090 AD by a king inspired by tales of visiting Indian monks, this perfect proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the early Bagan period and the beginning of middle period. In 1990, on the 900th anniversary of the temple’s construction, the temple spires were gilded. The entranceways make the structure a perfect Greek cross. 9.5 m of 4 standing Buddha image are placing at the main pillar of each entrance.
Dhammayangyi temple is the largest temple at Bagan. The paramedical temple features very fine brickwork and an intriguing history: said to be built by a wicked king, the inner ambulatories may have been filled with rubble by spiteful workers after his death in about 1170 AD. It is similar to Ananda in plan, but it is bigger. There are four main entrances but only the outer corridors are accessible as the interior is blocked by brickworks for unknown reason. It has large porticoes in the centre of all four sides, forming the shape of Greek cross. The top of the central stupa crumbled in 1975 by earthquake and the upper top portion was unfinished yet.
Nathlaung Kyaung Temple
Nathlaung Kyaung Temple is only surviving Hindu temple in Bagan. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, the square brick temple was built in the 10th or 11th century, making it one of the earliest temples at Bagan.