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Myanmar23, Bagan
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Myanmar23, Bagan



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From the 9th to 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

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  • 1.
  • 2. From the 9th to 13th centuries Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.
  • 3. Capital city of the first Myanma Kingdom, the site measures 13 by 8 km and contains more than 2500 Buddhist monuments (temples, stupas, monasteries, etc) built from the 10th to the 14th centuries AD. Several of these monuments are still highly venerated by the population, and attract numerous pilgrims and devotees from all over the country, particularly at festival times. Other are in various states of conservation and maintenance.
  • 4. The large corpus of contemporary stone inscriptions have been the most reliable source for the history of the Kingdom. The mural paintings inside more than 300 temples constitutes a unique corpus of paintings of that time in southeast Asia.
  • 5. The population of Bagan in its heyday is estimated anywhere between 50,000 to 200,000 people.
  • 6. Until the advent of tourism industry in the 1990s, only a few villagers lived in Old Bagan. The rise of tourism has attracted a sizable population to the area. Because Old Bagan is now off limits to permanent dwellings, much of the population reside in either New Bagan, south of Old Bagan, or Nyaung-U, north of Old Bagan. The majority of native residents are Burmans
  • 7. Htilominlo Temple was built during the reign of King Htilominlo (also known as Nandaungmya) in 1211. The temple is three stories tall, with a height of 46 metres (150 feet), and built with red brick. It is also known for its elaborate plaster moldings
  • 8. Htilominlo Temple
  • 9. On the first floor of the temple, there are four Buddhas that face each direction. The temple was damaged in the 1975 earthquake and subsequently repaired
  • 10. Htilominlo (1175 – 1235) was king of Pagan dynasty of Burma from 1211 to 1235. His 24-year reign marked the beginning of the gradual decline of Pagan dynasty.
  • 11. It was the first to see the impact of over a century of continuous growth of taxfree religious wealth, which had greatly reduced the potential tax base.
  • 12. Htilominlo was the last of the temple builders although most of his temples were in remote lands not in the Pagan region, reflecting the deteriorating state of royal treasury.
  • 13. The temple is one of the Bagan monuments decorated with the finest plaster carvings. Portions of the carvings still remain undamaged on the arch pediments, freize and plasters, but the mural paintings can now be seen on the ceiling only
  • 14. Htilominlo Temple
  • 15. Htilominlo Temple
  • 16. Htilominlo Temple
  • 17. Htilominlo Temple According to the chronicles, he built this temple at the very place where he was chosen as the crown prince out of five sons of King Narapatisithu. The five princess ranged around the white umbrella which was made to incline towards the refined prince, Nadaungmya, who was the youngest son. Upon chosen by the Hti (white umbrella), all four brothers and the king unanimously agreed to make him the crown prince, thus being named Htilominlo, meaning "favored by the king and the white umbrella as well".
  • 18. Htilominlo Temple
  • 19. Gawdawpalin Temple
  • 20. Gawdawpalin Temple The king, a devout Buddhist and a scholar, gave up the command of the army, and left the day-to-day affairs to a privy council consisted of ministers, the forebear of the Hluttaw, or the supreme administrative body of government. He focused his energies on religion and temple-building. He completed the majestic Gawdawpalin temple, begun by his father Narapatisithu, built the Mahabodhi, a replica of the Buddhagaya temple, and the Htilominlo Temple, named after himself.
  • 21. Gawdawpalin Temple
  • 22. Sinphyushin temple was built by King Thihathu or Sinphyushin of Pinya. It is a cavetype Indian-style based monument. The inner walls of the temple are full of ancient mural paintings. The exteriors of the temple are embellished with beautiful patterned carved and molded stucco decorations.
  • 23. The temples of Bagan have been visited by Marco Polo, Kubla Khan, and Dane Hogdes, and the latter considers them one of the 7 wonders of the world, and to quote Marco Polo (speaking of the temples) "amounting to one of the most astonishing views on earth" and we would concur!!
  • 24. The Shwezigon Pagoda
  • 25. There are over 300 monuments in Bagan which has mural paintings inside.
  • 26. Ananda Temple
  • 27. Maha-Bodi Pagoda this Pagoda is the one which is closely identical with the Maha Bodhi Pagoda at Bodhgaya in India
  • 28. Maha-Bodi Pagoda
  • 29. Detail of the walls of the Maha-Bodi Pagoda
  • 30. Maha-Bodi Pagoda
  • 31. Maha-Bodi Pagoda
  • 32. Maha-Bodi Pagoda
  • 33. Detail of the walls of the Maha-Bodi Pagoda
  • 34. Few can deny Bagan’s breathtaking beauty. The ancient city was described by National Geographic as “one of Southeast Asia’s greatest archaeological heritage sites”, while Japan’s permanent delegation to UNESCO describes it as one of Asia’s “major historical landmarks”. UNESCO’s culture program specialist in Myanmar said he knows of no other site in the world with as many archeological remains.
  • 35. Bagan Thatbyinnyu, the religious deed of King Alung Sithu
  • 36. Bagan Thatbyinnyu Temple
  • 37. Bagan Thatbyinnyu Templei s the tallest structure in Bagan. There is a rhyme traditionally sung by the people of Bagan, which runs: “Massiveness that is Dhammayan Gyi, Loftiness that is Thatbyinnyu, Grace that is Ananda.”
  • 38. Bagan Thatbyinnyu Temple
  • 39. Royal Poinciana, Flamboyant Tree, Flame Tree, Peacock Flower, Gulmohar Delonix regia (seinban)
  • 40. Thatbyinnyu Temple is a famous temple built in the mid12th century during the reign of King Alaungsithu. It is adjacent to Ananda Temple. Thatbyinnyu Temple is shaped like a cross, but is not symmetrical. The temple has two primary storeys, with the seated Buddha image located on the second storey.
  • 41. Day Shrines There are eight shrines, one for each day of the week (in the Burmese calendar, Wednesday is divided into two parts). Each shrine has a beast associated with it and a planet. The Tiger represent Monday
  • 42. The horses in Burma are obviously used far more for business than pleasure. Whether it is for the tourist industry, work horses or transportation. The Burmese pony is a breed local to the area. This breed is similar in confirmation to the Bhutia, Spiti and Manipuri ponies who collectively carry Mongolian and Arabian blood.
  • 43. Finished bamboo photo frames, and carved wooden book marks
  • 44. Thanaka is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of Myanmar seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls and to a lesser extent men and boys.
  • 45. The earliest literary reference to thanaka is in a 14th-century poem written by Mon-speaking King Razadarit's consort. Mentions of thanaka also exist in the 15th century literary works of Burmese monkpoet Shin Maharatthasara (1486-1529).
  • 46. The wood of several trees may be used to produce thanaka cream; these trees grow abundantly in central Myanmar. They include principally Murraya spp. (thanaka) but also Limonia acidissima (theethee or wood apple)
  • 47. Thanaka trees are perennials, and a tree must be at least 35 years old before it is considered mature enough to yield goodquality cuttings. Thanaka in its natural state is sold as small logs individually or in bundles, but nowadays also available as a paste or in powder form
  • 48. Thanaka
  • 49. Yoke thé is the Burmese name for marionette puppetry. Although the term can be used for marionettery in general, its usage usually refers to the local form of string puppetry.
  • 50. Minnanthu Nandamannya Built in the mid13th century. this less known and visited ancient temple is like a Meditation cave, a singlechambered temple has very fine frescoes and a seated Buddha image.
  • 51. Nandamannya Pahto
  • 52. Nandamannya Pahto
  • 53. Nandamannya Pahto
  • 54. Nandamannya Pahto
  • 55. Murals in Nandamannya Pahto Murals in Buddhist temple Pahtodhamya
  • 56. The Payathonzu Temple (literally "Temple of Three Buddhas") is unique in the sense that the temple consists of three temples conjoined through narrow passages. The interior of the temple contains frescoes. The temple was recently renovated, with the completion of the three stupas atop the temple, which are lighter in
  • 57. The Payathonzu Temple
  • 58. The Payathonzu Temple
  • 59. The Payathonzu Temple
  • 60. Considered as one of the greatest ancient sites of Southeastern Asia, UNESCO has unsuccessfully tried to include Bagan in the World Heritage List (Bagan is included in the Tentative List since as early as 1996), only to find the intransigency of the military junta who is inaccurately restoring this archaeological marvel, including a golf course and a viewing tower between the ancient pagodas and temples. Despite the majesty and importance of Bagan, UNESCO did not include it on its World Heritage Site, because it says some temples were rebuilt in an un-historic way. Nonetheless, the site is arguably as impressive as the Pyramids of Egypt: a dry, vast open landscape dominated entirely by votive architecture.
  • 61. The Bagan golf course resort had been a major cause of Bagan’s UNESCO deferral in 1997 and the Aureum Palace has also incurred UNESCO’s displeasure. A particular unfortunate feature is its Nan Myint Viewing Tower. Opened in 2005, it is 60 m high in brown concrete and glass in circular form with an external staircase (as well of course as internal lifts) to mimic the traditional Burmese watch tower (which isn’t relevant to Bagan!). As well as providing fine views over the Bagan plain, it can equally be seen from nearly everywhere across the site! Bagan Viewing Tower
  • 62. The recent additions of a really ugly and out-of-place Viewing Tower, a newly invented Bagan Golden Palace and a monstrously huge Archaeology Museum probably didn’t help to convince UNESCO to positively reconsider the nomination
  • 63. Panorama of Bagan from View Tower
  • 64. Bagan Nyaung Oo Airport
  • 65. Text and pictures: Internet Copyright: All the images belong to their authors Presentation: Sanda Foişoreanu Sound: Hlaing Win Maung - Dynamic melody