Bagan, located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. The shape and construction of each building is highly significant in Buddhism with each component part taking on spiritual meaning.

Bagan became a central powerbase in the mid 9th century under King Anawratha, who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism. It is estimated that as many as 13,000 temples and stupas once stood on this 42 sq km plain in central Myanmar, and Marco Polo once described Bagan as a “gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks’ robes”.

Approximately 2,200 remain today, in various states of disrepair. Some are large and well maintained, such as the Ananda Pahto, others are small tumbledown relics in the middle of overgrown grass. All sites are considered sacred, so when visiting, be respectful including removing shoes as well as socks before entering or stepping onto them.
Bagan’s golden age ended in 1287 when the Kingdom and its capital city was invaded and sacked by the Mongols. Its population was reduced to a village that remained amongst the ruins of the once larger city.

In 1998, this village and its inhabitants were forcibly relocated a few kilometers to the south of Bagan, forming “New Bagan” where you will find accommodation in its handful of cheap, quaint, clean hotels and religious centers.
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.

Religious Sites

  • Ananda Temple
  • Bupaya Pagoda
  • Dhammayangyi Temple
  • Dhammayazika Pagoda
  • Gawdawpalin Temple
  • Gubyaukgyi Temple
  • Htilominlo Temple
  • Lawkananda Pagoda
  • Mahabodhi Temple
  • Manuha Temple
  • Mingalazedi Pagoda
  • Minyeingon Temple
  • Myazedi inscription
  • Nanpaya Temple
  • Nanpaya Temple
  • Nathlaung Kyaung Temple
  • Payathonzu Temple
  • Seinnyet Ama Pagoda
  • Shwegugyi Temple
  • Shwesandaw Pagoda
  • Shwezigon Pagoda
  • Sulamani Temple
  • Tharabha Gate
  • Thatbyinnyu Temple
  • Tharabha Gate


Ref: Wikitravel,