Bagan, one of the richest archeological treasure houses in Asia, located in the Mandalay Region and on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River. It can be reached by plane, by bus or by train from Yangon and others. From the 9th to 13th centuries, this enchanting city was the capital of first Myanmar Empire which was founded by King Anawrahta in AD 1044. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were built by the ancient kings and leaders of Myanmar, of which the remains of over 2000 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.
Bagan is famous for the magnificent architecture of the buildings, stupas, hollow temples and innovations of ancient people. The most interesting places are Nyaung U Market which is a local market in the village of Nyaung U, SHWEZIGON PAGODA, the prototype of later Myanmar stupas; KYAN SIT THA U MIN, a tunnel with attractive mural paintings; BU PHAYA, the oldest pagoda in Bagan; ANANDA TEMPLE, the architectural masterpiece of a millennium; THAT BYIN NYU TEMPLE, the tallest in Bagan; HTILOMINLO TEMPLE, a double-storied building with artistic stucco works; GAWDAW PALIN TEMPLE, famous for its colorful glazed plaques; GU BYAUK KYI (MYIN-KA-BAR),famous for its mural paintings of Jataka scenes; DHAMMA YAN GYI TEMPLE, famous for its fine brick works, the Lacquer Ware Workshop and SHWE SAN DAW PAGODA for sunset.
Salay, a colorful old religious center, is located on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River and about 56.6 km south of Bagan (1.5 hours drive by car). It is a popular side trip for tourists visiting Bagan. In between visiting the numerous ancient monasteries, adorned with beautiful woodcarving, you can enjoy the beauty of this compact city of colonial buildings, monasteries and pagodas. Salay is famous for ShinbinMahaLaba Man Paya, SasanaYaunggyi Monastery where has a sculpture describing a few of the Buddha’s 550 lives and Yoke SoneKyaung, an ancient wooden carved monastery which is closed on Monday and gazette holidays.
It is famous for PAKHANGYI(Ancient City), SHWE KU PAGODA where is wood carving and housing a Buddha image seated on a lotus throne, SHWE TANT TIT THARAKHAN BUDDHA IMAGE with the elephant throne (the height of the Tharakhan Buddha image is about 4 fingers width) and THIHO SHIN PAGODA that contains an image presented by the King of Ceylon some 800 years ago.