About sight: Pagan (Bagan)

There is a wonderful place 150 kilometers of Mandalay, - the ancient city of Pagan (now Bagan). In XI-XIII centuries it was the capital of similar state (Pagan Kingdom), and for that period there have been built several thousands of various Buddhist pagodas on the fairly compact territory.

In XII the King of Pagan Anoratha declared Buddhism the state religion. From Singhalese ruler Vijayabahu he obtained the sacred relics of Buddhism – the tooth and frontal bone of Buddha. Most likely, it was just the replica of the Buddha's tooth, which is stored in the Kandy's Monastery of Sri Lanka. In Pagan there had been constructed the Shwezigon Stupa to house those relics, and about the same time a lot of other stupas were being actively erected. By XIII century they were over 5 000 (currently, there survived only about 2 000 stupas or pagodas).

Today Pagan is a guarded area of 40 km2 containing all those pagodas, which are scattered all around the wide valley of Iravadi overgrown with jungles. All the pagodas were seriously damaged during the earthquake of 1975, however, the main pagodas of Bagan (Pagan) have been completely restored.

Shwezigon is the greatest pagoda of Bagan. After Shwedagon, Rangoon, it is the second-largest stupa (or pagoda) in Myanmar. The ensemble of Shwezigon had been shaped during 1084-1113. Today Shwezigon is the only entirely gilt pagoda in Pagan. The central stupa is surrounded by a number of stone and wood pavilions.

Ananda is another famous temple in Pagan, named so in honor of the favorite disciple of Buddha. It was built in XI century. There have been housed 4 giant sculptures of Buddha. The other important sites of Pagan are the pagodas or temples of Shwesandaw, Dhammayazika, and Tatbinyo.

To visit Pagan, you can fly directly to the airport of Pagan from either Mandalay or Rangoon, however, you should combine it with a trip to Mandalay. It is a large city with a huge number of palaces and religious constructions. Mandalay is also known as the city of jewels.

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