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Chillin' in Bagan

Bagan Travel Blog

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Enjoying the view of Bagan's ruins

No night bars, no cafes, no cable tv, no malls, no dating scene �" how do you exactly ‘chill’ in Bagan? 

 

By simply taking the place for what it is, enjoying it for what it can offer, putting in your head that there’s more to traveling than looking for another sex-and-the-city adventure.

 

But perhaps it’s easier for me to appreciate Bagan as I am after all a trained anthropologist and can thus enjoy walking through the ruins of what was once the one of the mightiest empire in Asia.  

 

Not that I didn’t get some temple fatigue.

My lil sis took this pic of me while chillin in Mingalarzedi
Who wouldn’t when, while driving around Bagan, I can’t see anything but trees and temples that dominate much of its landscape. And while I can appreciate the temples and what it represents in Bagan’s culture, I can’t help but feel assaulted by the images of temples around me. I did and for a time, regretted the fact that there’s no Starbucks or any western style cafes in Bagan as I was craving for latte, an air-conditioned room, bossanova tunes and a cozy sofa.  

 

That, however, was some fleeting fancy. How can I continue thinking of something as shallow as a cup of latte when Bagan is offering something more for the mind and the soul?    

 

Bagan after all, in its glory days, was the capital of what was once one of the major centers of Theravada Buddhism in Asia. Most of these major temples were constructed during the period 1000 to 1250 A.

and this i took this picture of my lil sis, thats her artsy farts pose at Mingalarzedi
D., when Bagan was the capital of a large and powerful empire.  King Anawrahta, who united the once warring fiefdoms under the Bagan empire, initiated a building frenzy which lasted for over two centuries. A devout Buddhist, Anawratha and his successors have erected over 5,000 stupas and pagodas for two hundred years before the Bagan kingdom fell, was overrun by the Mongol invaders and subsequently abandoned at the onset of the 14th century.

 

Today, Bagan has been designated as an Archaeological Zone by the current military regime. Bagan is home to some 2,000 Buddhist temples - some of which are huge and glorious with its elaborate stonework, intricately designed murals and massive images of the Buddha. 

 

One of the most important temples is the Shwezigon Pagoda. Like its counterpart in Yangon, the Shwedagon, Shwezigon has a gilded stupa.

that's Diovee on top of the world!
At the time I was there, I wasn’t able to appreciate its golden color as it’s covered by cloth and being rehabilitated. That said, I can at least appreciate the fact that I visited an important and holy Bagan temple.  The Shwezigon enshrines a sacred Buddhist relic - a copy of the Lord Buddha’s tooth relic which King Anawratha himself requested from the Buddhist kingdom of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).  

 

If Shwezigon has such religious beginnings, another popular Bagan temple, the Dhammayangyi (which scholars say means The Light of Buddha's Teaching), has, in contrast, very evil history.

  Bagan’s most massive shrine and noted for its fine brickwork, the Dhammayangyi was built by King Narathu who ruled in the 12th century. Narathu was one wicked king who murdered his brother and father to ascend the throne. When Dhammayangyi was being constructed, Narathu made sure that the temple will have one of the finest brickworks among Bagan’s temples by personally checking the brickwork. If he could stick a pin between the bricks, Narathu would immediately order the execution of masons responsible for such work. 

 

Another must see Bagan temple is Hitlominlo -the name is a misreading of the Pali word for “Blessings of the Three Worlds.” It’s easy to spot Hitlominlo as it’s one large temple situated near the main road. Hitlominlo was built by King Nantaungmya in 1218 and the king had it built, in this exact spot because it was here that he was chosen, from among five brothers, to be the crown prince.

 

 

But the highlight of our trip to Bagan is spending one lazy afternoon at the Mingalarzedi ( the “Blessing Stupa”) - built in the 13th century by King Narathihapati, one of the last temples to be built before Bagan kingdom's decline and especially noted for its glazed  tiles and fabulous brickwork.

 

After taking tons of pictures around its compound, we climbed to Mingalarzedi’s upmost terrace �" the best spot for a panoramic afternoon view of the ruins of the ancient city.  

 

 

 

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Enjoying the view of Bagans ruins
Enjoying the view of Bagan's ruins
My lil sis took this pic of me whi…
My lil sis took this pic of me wh…
and this i took this picture of my…
and this i took this picture of m…
thats Diovee on top of the world!
that's Diovee on top of the world!
On the road. Hitlominlo in the bac…
On the road. Hitlominlo in the ba…
You can just buy souvenirs everywh…
You can just buy souvenirs everyw…
Lil Sis in Red
Lil Sis in Red
If youre looking for craftsmen to…
If you're looking for craftsmen t…
this was taken in front of a house…
this was taken in front of a hous…
Thatsme at the Shwezigon, with my…
Thats'me at the Shwezigon, with m…
Me in shwezigon
Me in shwezigon
My lil sis and I at Shwezigon
My lil sis and I at Shwezigon
The Chilis at Shwezigon
The Chilis at Shwezigon
Eggplants in the market
Eggplants in the market
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at the colorful open market in Ba…
I love flowers! (at the village ma…
I love flowers! (at the village m…
Bagan
photo by: planisphere