Yangon Sightseeing » Destinations » Bagan

Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia and the main tourist destination in Myanmar. It was also the capital of the First Myanmar Empire. This enchanting city is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, about 193 km south of Mandalay. The ruins of Bagan city cover an area of 42 sq. km containing over 2000 edifices. The majority of these well-preserved temples and pagodas offer a rich architectural heritage from the 11th to 13th-century era.
How to get there
It takes about one hour and twenty minutes to fly from Yangon to Bagan. There are daily flights to Bagan from Yangon, and regular flights from Mandalay, which take only 20 minutes. By overland, it takes 12 hours from Yangon and 7 hours from Mandalay by Coach. There is a regular train between Bagan and Mandalay too. There are also some double-decker steamer service between Mandalay and Bagan such as RV Pandaw and Irrawaddy Princess
Background History
King Thamodadrit founded Bagan in the early 2nd century as a small town. A few years later after the Pyu Kingdom was destroyed by the Chinese army in the late 9th century, Pinbya, who was 34 ruler of Bagan, united 19 villages including Bamar and Pyu settlements into one unified Kingdom. The dynasty was to last through 55 rulers. King Anawratta is the 42nd ruler in the dynasty that a definite record began.
Another name of Bagan is Arrimaddana Pura, the crusher of all enemies. It is also described as Pukkan in 1093 Mon Record. Chinese official record in 1343 noted that Bagan, in 1106, was a large and powerful kingdom that should be treated with honors. Bagan’s rule covered all of Menem Valley towards east just 6 years in Anawrahta’s reign. Bagan was noted as a great Kingdom in the inscription of the ancient kingdom of Cham, later to become Vietnam.
Some Outstanding Kings of the Bagan Dynasty
Anawrahta (1044-1077).His -True name is Aniruddha meaning unstoppable, ungovernable, and self-willed. He founded the first Myanmar Empire and Bagan became known as Arimaddana Pura. He expanded his military might, 1st to use a trained elephant in his army. He ensured that lesser kingdoms surrounding his country paid him tribute and he set up a line of forts along the borders to ensure their submission. His Greatest work is strengthening Theravada Buddhism
Kyansittha (1084-1112).He promoted diplomacy with other states and esp had good relationships with the Mon race of the South, often using Mon language and even appointing Mon officials to court. He died at 80 and he was a great and well-loved king.
Alaungsithu (1112-1166).His long reign was of peaceful and prosperous time. He built Thatbyinnyu, a 3-storied edifice, and the biggest and most majestic temple in Bagan. Shwegugyi temple is also his merit.
Some Great Bagan Monuments
Shwezigon (late 11th -12th) It is the combined merit of two great kings: King Anawrahta and Kyansitha. It was built wholly and partly by stone. The Volunteers stood in 3 rows over 7 miles distance between Tuywin Mountain quarries to relay the stone bricks. The three terraces are lined with green-glazed clay plaques showing the Jataka scene in relief. On each compass point, pavilion with 13” high standing image made of Pyinsa Lawha ( five different kinds of metals)
Ananda Temple (completed in 1090) is the most beautiful temple and it is King Kyansitta’s masterpiece. Its Floor plan is like a Greek cross with a paralleled double corridor. The interior is lit with openings set high on the walls. It has the biggest collection of green glazed terracotta plaques

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