Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bagan, Ancient City of Myanmar- Page 2

12 pm, we took our lunch at Golden Myanmar 121, not far away from Ananda. The traditional Myanmar Food was nice. We will share more about the food in Bagan in our upcoming post. We took rest at our Hotel- Thiri Marlar until 3 pm. Our first stop in the afternoon- Thatbyinnyu.

It is the tallest temple in Bagan, with the highest point soars 61 meters above the ground, built by King Alaungsithu in 1144 AD. The temple shares some similarity with Ananda as both of the temples were built in same era. Thatbyinnyu located nearby the old city wall, about 500 meters west to Ananda.

The surrounding of Thatbyinnyu was quite barren, so we could walk a bit far away from the temple to see the temple from a distance. Well, that's all what we could do, as going up to the higher levels were prohibited. Again, like many other temples in Bagan, the interior of Thatbyinnyu was not more than a square passage with statues of Buddha facing four different directions.

Thatbyinnyu from the main road. The whitewashed wall and the golden spire resembles the architecture of Ananda.

Backside of Thatbyinnyu.

The passage in the temple is decorated by several statues (left)- a design shared by many other major temples in Bagan. Drawings and inscription with unknown dates can be seen in the temple.

Mahabodhi is the only temple in Bagan that was built with strong Indian architecture- resembling Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar, India.It was built in 1215 AD by King Htilominlo.

We saw this temple on our way from Thatbyinnyu to Bupaya. We didn't go into the temple. Looking from the outside, the temple really had not much different than any of the Indian temples in our country, except one structure- the golden spire on the top of the temple.

Mahabodhi is unique with its Indian architecture- make it different from the other temples. However, the odd wooden gazebo built in front of the temple spoilt the ancient feel of the temple.

Bupaya located at the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, 500 m from north of Mahabodhi. It was built by King Pyu Sawhti, who ruled the Kingdom of Bagan during 168-243 AD. Some refer King Pyu Sawhti as King Bagan. Whether he was the first king in Bagan or not, Bupaya is still the oldest monument that we could see in Bagan.

The original Bupaya was destroyed by the earthquake in 1975. The broken pieces of the pagoda felt into the river and never been recovered. The current structure built was lesser in architecture and design compared to the original pagoda.

We suffered from the "burning-feet syndrome" at Bupaya, as the site was exposed without any cover. Without our shoes and socks, we had to endure the burning temperature while walking around the pagoda. Besides the badly built replica and the view of Ayeyarwaddy River, there was nothing else interesting there.

This replica is poorly built and can't really reflect the original building, except for the location.

Ayeyarwaddy River from Bupaya.

Dhammayangyi is huge compared to other temples. It was located far to the east, 2.5 km from Bupaya. Built by King Narathu in 1170 AD, it was one of the finest temple built in Bagan- the construction was so fine that even a needle could not be inserted between the bricks. 

The King has bad reputation to be the murderer of his own father and sibling. Some believe that the king built that massive structure as a redemption to his sin. However, he had treated the builders badly- he chopped the builders' hands off when the builders couldn't meet his expectation.

There was two corridors in the temple, with the inner one had been closed by bricks due to unknown reason. Although the temple is tall with six external terraces, we were only allowed to visit the lowest level. While entering the temple, the droplets from the dark dwellers high above the temple's ceiling- the bats, produced awful smell. We couldn't finish walking through the corridor with the deterring smell. As we visited the temple around 4:45 pm, the afternoon sunlight made the temple looked amazing. That's why we had spent more time looking at the temple from the outside than from the inside.

Colossal Dhammayangyi looks like a pyramid from far away.

Entering the gate of Dhammayangyi.

Photo from the right flank of the temple.

All the doorways are well decorated by exquisite carving- one of the best in Bagan (left). The high-dark ceiling allows dark dwellers to hide undisturbed.

The fine brickwork of Dhammanyagyi is certified by this photo.

Sulamani was located near to Dhammayangyi. It is a big temple. The name itself reflected the temple has some connection to ruby. Sulamani means small ruby. It was said that King Narapatisithu found a ruby while building this temple in 1183 AD. Sulamani displayed a good brickwork with stones inserted at strategic places and used to strengthen the structure. Sadly, we couldn't really understand the beauty of these architecture designs.

We reached Sulamani after visiting Dhammanyangyi. It was getting darker at 5:45 pm. We couldn't see much inside the temple without the help from the auto focus light from the camera. The mural inside the temple was the best among all temples that we had visited, so it is a must-visit temple in Bagan. The biggest relieve for us when we visit the temple- no more burning floor and awful smell.

Although being considered as a big temple, Sulamani is dwarfed by Dhammayangyi.

The large mural in Sulamani is the most exquisite among all the temples.

The mural shows the activities of the people around Bagan (left). Another mural shows an Indian worshipper.

This is a small building covering a 18-meter reclining Buddha statue. It is located next to Shwesandaw. The real reason of covering such as big statue inside such as small room is remained unknown. This Buddha statue is claimed to be the largest of its kind in Bagan.

This structure is so modest that one might overlook it easily. It is located in the compound of Shwesandaw.

Inside Shin-Bin-Tha-Lyaung.

Shwesandaw is a tall pagoda with 5 terraces, which can be climbed through small and steep stairs. We climbed to the top level of the pagoda, hope to see the sunset. No luck, the clouds was too thick. However, we still enjoyed the scenery pretty much. According to one of the local, Shwesandaw will be closed to visitors in near future. We hope that won't happened, or else we need to pay to see the sunset or sunrise at the observatory tower.

Extremely steep staircase- the obstacle that we need to brave through for beautiful scenery.

Temples east to Shwesandaw.

Gandawpalin west to Shwesandaw- a reward for the pagoda's climbers.

Look north-west and we can see Thatbyinnyu.

 Ananda is close to Thatbyinnyu. It looks beautiful from Shwesendaw.

The size of Dhammayangyi is well-captured when we watch it from Shwesandaw.

Panorama view south of Shwesandaw, please click on the photo to enlarge. Shin-Bin-Tha-Lyaung with the white roof can be seen on near left, while Myazedi Pagodas can be seen on the far left corner. Gandawpalin can be seen on far right. Mingala Zedi can be seen too, located about 1/3 from the left, at the end of the sandy road. 

First night at Thiri Marlar. We experienced our first mini-sandstorm- sands were blown high into the air, and a few of the trees beside our hotel were almost toppled. Lucky, the wind stopped half an hour later. We will share more about this in our upcoming post. Our sharing about our trip is continued on Page 3.

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