Bagan was probably founded in the mid to late 9th century. Between 1044 and 1287 it was the capital of the Pagan Empire. During that time over 10,000 religious monuments were constructed (approximately 1000 pagodas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries). After the fall of the Pagan Empire, Bagan was little more than a village for the next 6 centuries. Only few religious monuments were constructed during that time. The pagodas are made out of brick or sandstone. The larger ones have three to five terraces. The stairs between terraces are very steep for defensive purposes.

The pagodas have various styles of tops. The most common are:

Today Bagan is surrounded by some 2500 pagodas and temples on 104 km² (40 square miles). Currently, there are about 64 villages in the area with some 100,000 people living in the area.

Bagan with its splendid temples is another example of the many sites of Ancient Civilizations that I visited during my travels.

Since 2019, Bagan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Ananda Temple

This is a one of the largest temple complexes in Bagan. It was built in 1105 during the reign of King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty (1084–1113). It is one of four surviving large temples in Bagan.

It has four large standing Buddha statues, named after various aspects of Buddha. Kakusandha (the 25th Buddha, the first of the five Buddhas of the present, and the fourth of the seven ancient Buddhas) facing north. Konagamana (the 26th Buddha, the second of the five Buddhas of the present era, and the fifth of the seven ancient Buddhas) facing east. Gautama (the last of the five Buddhas of the present) facing west. Kassapa (the third of the five Buddhas of the present, and the sixth of the seven ancient Buddhas), facing south. The north and south facing statues are originals, the other two are later reconstructions.

The south and the north facing Buddhas have a unique architectural design of the face. When viewed from afar, the Buddha is smiling, but when viewed from close-up, it has a sad look.

There are many wall paintings in the temple, many of them being restored.

Full View Ananda Temple
Full view of the Ananda Temple. (784k)
View South-west Part Ananda
View of the south-west part of the Ananda Temple. (933k)
View North-east Part Ananda
View of the north-east part of the Ananda Temple, with restoration work in progress. (624k)
East Entrance Ananda Temple
East entrance to the Ananda Temple. (668k)
Mt Meru Style Top
Mt Meru style top of the pagoda on the Ananda Temple. (704k)
Hti Umbrella Top Ananda
The hti (umbrella) on the top of the Ananda Temple. (629k)
Lions Guarding East Wing
One of the lions guarding the east wing of the Ananda Temple. (911k)
Kakusandha North Facing Buddha
Kakusandha, the north facing Buddha, from afar, smiling. (740k)
Kakusandha North Facing Buddha
Kakusandha, the north facing Buddha, from close, with sad expression. (996k)
Gautama West Facing Standing
Gautama, the west facing standing Buddha with the Abhaya Mudra. (854k)
Kassapa South Facing Standing
Kassapa, the south facing standing Buddha. (927k)
Face Kassapa South Facing
Face of Kassapa, the south facing Buddha from close, with sad looking expression. (768k)
Face Kassapa South Facing
Face of Kassapa, the south facing Buddha from afar, with happy looking expression. (954k)
Ceiling Paintings Ananda Temple
Ceiling paintings in the Ananda Temple. (484k)
Ceiling Paintings Ananda Temple
Ceiling paintings in the Ananda Temple. (836k)
Ceiling Paintings Ananda Temple
Ceiling paintings in the Ananda Temple. (745k)
Terra Cotta Tile Ananda
Terra cotta tile on the Ananda Temple. There are hundreds of these tiles around the temple, depicting various Jataka tales. (897k)
Terra Cotta Tile Ananda
Terra cotta tile on the Ananda Temple. There are hundreds of these tiles around the temple, depicting various Jataka tales. (1150k)

Shwezigone Pagoda

Construction of the Shwezigone Pagoda began during the reign of King Anawrahta and was completed in 1102 CE, during the reign of King Kyansittha of the Pagan Dynasty.

Shwezigone Pagoda
Shwezigone Pagoda. (742k)
Shwezigone Pagoda
Shwezigone Pagoda. (817k)
Stairs Leading Shwezigone Pagoda
Stairs leading up to the Shwezigone Pagoda. (807k)
People Preparing Donate Food
People preparing to donate food to the temple. (931k)
Woman Giving Gifts Shwezigone
Woman giving gifts in the Shwezigone Pagoda. The large round vessels hold the gifts from the villagers. (868k)
Standing Buddha Abhaya Mudra
Standing Buddha with the Abhaya Mudra in the Shwezigone Pagoda (11th century). (708k)
Decorative Tiles Shwezigone Pagoda
Decorative tiles in the Shwezigone Pagoda. (881k)
Donation Record Shwezigone Pagoda
Donation record in the Shwezigone Pagoda. (791k)

Nathlaung Kyaung Temple

This is the only Hindu Temple dedicated to Vishnu in Bagan. It is one of the oldest temples in Bagan, it dates from the 11th century. Some historians believe the temple may have been built in the 10th century, during the reign of King Nyaung-u Sawrahan

Entrance Nathlaung Kyaung Temple
Entrance to the Nathlaung Kyaung Temple. (890k)
Hindu Gods Nathlaung Kyaung
Hindu gods in the Nathlaung Kyaung Temple. (778k)
Close-up Trinity Hindu Gods
Close-up of the Trinity of Hindu gods in the Nathlaung Kyaung Temple. Left: Brahma, Center: Vishnu, Right: Shiva. (762k)
Hindu God Am Sure
Hindu god. I am not sure which one, he carries the trident, symbol of Shiva, and the mace, symbol of Vishnu. (768k)
Hindu Deity
Hindu deity. (789k)
Buddha Statues Nathlaung Kyaung
Buddha statues in the Nathlaung Kyaung Temple. The center statue is with the Abhaya Mudra. (729k)
Wall Paintings Nathlaung Kyaung
Wall paintings in the Nathlaung Kyaung Temple. (835k)

Gubyaukgyi Temple

The Gubyaukgyi temple, located just south of Bagan, Myanmar, in Myinkaba Village, is a Buddhist temple built in 1113 CE by Prince Yazakumar, shortly after the death of his father, King Kyansittha of the Pagan Dynasty. The temple is notable for a large array of well-preserved frescoes on its interior walls, the oldest original paintings to be found in Bagan.

Gubyaukgyi Temple
Gubyaukgyi Temple. (932k)
Gubyaukgyi Temple
Gubyaukgyi Temple. (714k)
Stone Carvings Gubyaukgyi Temple
Stone carvings on the Gubyaukgyi Temple. (1271k)
Frescoes Gubyaukgyi Temple
Frescoes in the Gubyaukgyi Temple. (532k)
Frescoes Gubyaukgyi Temple
Frescoes in the Gubyaukgyi Temple. (700k)

Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery

The monastery was built in the 18th century. It was made mostly of teak wood. Up to 200 people sleep there for free each night and receive meals.

Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery
Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (651k)
Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery
Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (560k)
Wood Carved Roof Decoration
Wood carved roof decoration in the Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (975k)
Details Wood Carved Roof
Details of wood carved roof decoration in the Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (757k)
Wood Carved Doorway Nat
Wood carved doorway in the Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (861k)
Wood Carved Figures Nat
Wood carved figures in the Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (769k)
Wood Carved Figures Nat
Wood carved figures in the Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (691k)
Wood Carved Figures Nat
Wood carved figures in the Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery. (729k)

Khay Min Gha Temple

The Khay Min Gha Temple was built in the 11th century.

Khay Min Gha Temple
Khay Min Gha Temple. (675k)
Buddha Statue Bhumisparsha Mudra
Buddha statue with the Bhumisparsha Mudra in the Khay Min Gha Temple. (851k)
Wall Paintings Khay Min
Wall paintings in the Khay Min Gha Temple. (1029k)
Wall Paintings Buddha Dharmachakra
Wall paintings of Buddha with the Dharmachakra Mudra and disciples in the Khay Min Gha Temple. (824k)
Wall Paintings Buddha Khay
Wall paintings of Buddha in the Khay Min Gha Temple. (804k)
Wall Paintings Buddha Teaching
Wall paintings of Buddha in teaching pose (Dharmachakra Mudra) in the Khay Min Gha Temple. (877k)
Wall Paintings Buddha Meditating
Wall paintings of Buddha in meditating pose (Dhyana Mudra) in the Khay Min Gha Temple. (842k)

Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple was built in the mid-13th century during the reign of King Htilominlo, and is modelled after the Mahabodhi Temple, in Bihar, India. The temple is built in an architectural style typical during the Gupta period, and contains a large pyramidal tower with many niches containing over 450 images of Buddha.

Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple. (729k)
Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple. (752k)
Worship Station Mahabodhi Temple
Worship station in the Mahabodhi Temple, with the signs for the days of the week. (792k)

Kyaukgu Umin Temple

This temple is built into the rock, with tunnels behind the temple.

Gilded Buddha Statue Bhumisparsha
Gilded Buddha statue with the Bhumisparsha Mudra in the Kyaukgu Umin Temple. (887k)
Stone Carved Wall Decoration
Stone carved wall decoration in the Kyaukgu Umin Temple. (817k)
Stone Statue Kyaukgu Umin
Stone statue in the Kyaukgu Umin Temple. (738k)
Tunnel Behind Kyaukgu Umin
Tunnel behind the Kyaukgu Umin Temple. (621k)
Top Part Clay Tablet
Top part of the clay tablet with tiny Buddha figures in the Kyaukgu Umin Temple. (783k)
Top Part Clay Tablet
Top part of the clay tablet with tiny Buddha figures. (798k)
Lower Part Clay Tablet
Lower part of the clay tablet with tiny Buddha figures. The hand gives you a size reference. (662k)
Inscription Kyaukgu Umin Temple
Inscription in the Kyaukgu Umin Temple. (808k)

Thatbyinnyu Temple

It was built in the mid-12th century during the reign of King Alaungsithu. With 61 m (200 ft) t is the tallest temple in Bagan.

Thatbyinnyu Temple
Thatbyinnyu Temple. (935k)
Statues Thatbyinnyu Temple
Statues in the Thatbyinnyu Temple. (854k)
Sitting Buddha Statue Bhumisparsha
Sitting Buddha statue with the Bhumisparsha Mudra in the Thatbyinnyu Temple. (787k)
Bodhisattva Statue Thatbyinnyu Temple
Bodhisattva statue in the Thatbyinnyu Temple. (877k)
Carvings Thatbyinnyu Temple
Carvings in the Thatbyinnyu Temple. (854k)

Manuha Temple

Built by captive Mon King Manuha in 1067. It is one of the oldest temples in Bagan.

Manuha Temple
Manuha Temple. (776k)
Large Buddha Statue Manuha
Large Buddha statue in the Manuha Temple. (702k)
Large Reclining Buddha Statue
Large reclining Buddha statue in the Manuha Temple. (616k)
Large Reclining Buddha Statue
Large reclining Buddha statue in the Manuha Temple. (559k)

Nanpaya Temple

The Nanpaya Temple is next to the Manuha Temple. It contains Hindu reliefs. It was built by captive Thaton Kingdom King Makuta.

Nanpaya Temple
Nanpaya Temple. (903k)
Nanpaya Temple
Nanpaya Temple. (964k)
Details Nanpaya Temple
Details on the Nanpaya Temple. (1023k)
Fries Nanpaya Temple
Fries in the Nanpaya Temple. (872k)
Fries Hindu Trinity Nanpaya
Fries with the Hindu Trinity in the Nanpaya Temple. (822k)
Fries Hindu Trinity Nanpaya
Fries with the Hindu Trinity in the Nanpaya Temple. (832k)

Dhammayazika Pagoda

It was built in 1196 during the reign of King Narapatisithu. The pagoda is circular in design, and is made of brick.

Dhammayazika Pagoda
Dhammayazika Pagoda. (1080k)
Statue Outside Dhammayazika Pagoda
Statue outside the Dhammayazika Pagoda. (832k)
Roof Decoration Dhammayazika Pagoda
Roof decoration on the Dhammayazika Pagoda. (966k)
Roof Decoration Dhammayazika Pagoda
Roof decoration on the Dhammayazika Pagoda. (673k)
Wall Dhammayazika Pagoda Terra
Wall of the Dhammayazika Pagoda with terra cotta tiles. (1041k)
Terra Cotta Tile Dhammayazika
Terra cotta tile on the Dhammayazika Pagoda. (958k)

Lawkananda Pagoda

Lawkananda Pagoda was built during the reign of King Anawrahta (1015 - 1078), founder of the Pagan Empire. The pagoda is covered with new gold leaf every five years.

Lawkananda Pagoda Pyu Style
Lawkananda Pagoda in Pyu style. (684k)
Pyu Style Top Lawkananda
Pyu style top of the Lawkananda Pagoda, covered in gold leaf. (805k)
Gilded Hti Umbrella Lawkananda
Gilded hti (umbrella) of the Lawkananda Pagoda. (655k)
Large Ceremonial Gong Lawkananda
Large ceremonial gong in the Lawkananda Pagoda. (833k)
Large Ceremonial Drum Lawkananda
Large ceremonial drum in the Lawkananda Pagoda. (889k)
Gilded Throne Lawkananda Pagoda
Gilded throne in the Lawkananda Pagoda. (1121k)
Statues Lawkananda Pagoda Young
Statues near the Lawkananda Pagoda with young apprentice monks. (838k)

Pagodas and Temples

Large Buddha Statue Bhumisparsha
Large Buddha statue with the Bhumisparsha Mudra in one of the temples in Bagan. (742k)
Buddha Statue Temples Bagan
Buddha statue in one of the temples in Bagan. It has an older head of a Buddha statue inside. (714k)
Buddha Statue Dhyana Mudra
Buddha statue with the Dhyana Mudra and stone carved wall decorations in one of the temples in Bagan. (692k)
Head Buddha Statue Temples
Head of a Buddha statue in one of the temples in Bagan. (649k)
Stone Carved Door Decorations
Stone carved door decorations in one of the temples in Bagan. (1212k)
Stone Carved Roof Decorations
Stone carved roof decorations in one of the temples in Bagan. (1419k)
Close-up Stone Carved Roof
Close-up of stone carved roof decorations in one of the temples in Bagan. (1391k)
Stone Carvings Temples Bagan
Stone carvings on one of the temples in Bagan. (1195k)
Wall Carvings Nanpaya Temple
Wall carvings in the Nanpaya Temple. (872k)
Wall Carvings Brahma Nanpaya
Wall carvings of Brahma in the Nanpaya Temple. (822k)
Interior Staircase Temples Bagan
Interior staircase in one of the temples in Bagan. (832k)
12th Century Inscription Pagoda
12th century Inscription in Pagoda 915, showing the name Myanmar (not Burma). (860k)
Stairs Pagodas Very Steep
The stairs on the pagodas are very steep. (1033k)
View Over Pagodas Bagan
View over the pagodas of Bagan. (890k)
Pagodas Bagan
Pagodas of Bagan. (821k)
Pagodas Bagan
Pagodas of Bagan. (810k)
Pagodas Bagan
Pagodas of Bagan. (773k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (826k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (1048k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (805k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (675k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (868k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (726k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (913k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (620k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (1231k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (1115k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (1030k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (891k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (706k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (804k)
Pagoda Bagan
Pagoda in Bagan. (1016k)
Sunset Over Pagodas Bagan
Sunset over the pagodas of Bagan. (295k)
Sunset Over Pagodas Bagan
Sunset over the pagodas of Bagan. (418k)

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Page last updated on Sat Mar 21 12:04:02 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)


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© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
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