Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bagan Ancient City, Myanmar

            Ex-Travel-Ganzer, Howdy Mowdy Cowdy to say this things, it is very amazing. If you ever plan to spend your long memorable holidays in same place but there are so many things you can see on there, i suggest you to visit our beloved Bagan in Myanmar. Maybe you can spend about one year ( and i thing is not enough, but could be enough) to see all over the things here = iam just kidding you know=, so what are you waiting for, lets start this journey and pack your bag.
Bagan Ancient City, Myanmar
 Lets start with what is Bagan. Bagan  is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.
Bagan Ancient City, Myanmar
 Bagan stands out not only for the sheer number of religious edifices but also for the magnificent architecture of the buildings, and their contribution to Burmese temple design. The Bagan temple falls into one of two broad categories: the stupa-style solid temple and the gu-style hollow temple.
A stupa, also called a pagoda, is a massive structure, typically with a relic chamber inside. The Bagan stupas or pagodas evolved from earlier Pyu designs, which in turn were based on the stupa designs of the Andhra region, particularly Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda in present-day southeastern India, and to a smaller extent to Ceylon. The Bagan-era stupas in turn were the prototypes for later Burmese stupas in terms of symbolism, form and design, building techniques and even materials.
Bagan Ancient City, Myanmar

Originally, a Indian/Ceylonese stupa had a hemispheric body (Pali: anda, "the egg") on which a rectangular box surrounded by a stone balustrade (harmika) was set. Extending up from the top of the stupa was a shaft supporting several ceremonial umbrellas. The stupa is a representation of the Buddhist cosmos: its shape symbolizes Mount Meru while the umbrella mounted on the brickwork represents the world's axis.
The original Indic design was gradually modified first by the Pyu, and then by Burmans at Bagan where the stupa gradually developed a longer, cylindrical form. The earliest Bagan stupas such as the Bupaya (c. 9th century) were the direct descendants of the Pyu style at Sri Ksetra. By the 11th century, the stupa had developed into a more bell-shaped form in which the parasols morphed into a series of increasingly smaller rings placed on one top of the other, rising to a point. On top the rings, the new design replaced the harmika with a lotus bud. The lotus bud design then evolved into the "banana bud", which forms the extended apex of most Burmese pagodas. Three or four rectangular terraces served as the base for a pagoda, often with a gallery of terra-cotta tiles depicting Buddhist jataka stories. The Shwezigon Pagoda and the Shwesandaw Pagoda are the earliest examples of this type. Examples of the trend toward a more bell-shaped design gradually gained primacy as seen in the Dhammayazika Pagoda (late 12th century) and the Mingalazedi Pagoda (late 13th century).
Bagan Ancient City, Myanmar
 In contrast to the stupas, the hollow gu-style temple is a structure used for meditation, devotional worship of the Buddha and other Buddhist rituals. The gu temples come in two basic styles: "one-face" design and "four-face" design—essentially one main entrance and four main entrances. Other styles such as five-face and hybrids also exist. The one-face style grew out of 2nd century Beikthano, and the four-face out of 7th century Sri Ksetra. The temples, whose main features were the pointed arches and the vaulted chamber, became larger and grander in the Bagan period.
 Bagan, located in an active earthquake zone, had suffered from many earthquakes over the ages, with over 400 recorded earthquakes between 1904 and 1975. The last major earthquake came on 8 July 1975, reaching 8 MM in Bagan and Myinkaba, and 7 MM in Nyaung-U. The quake damaged many temples, in many cases, such as the Bupaya, severely and irreparably. Today, 2229 temples and pagodas remain. 

Many of these damaged pagodas underwent restorations in the 1990s by the military government, which sought to make Bagan an international tourist destination. However, the restoration efforts instead drew widespread condemnation from art historians and preservationists worldwide. Critics are aghast that the restorations paid little attention to original architectural styles, and used modern materials, and that the government has also established a golf course, a paved highway, and built a 61-meter (200-foot) watchtower. These restorations allegedly are the main reason why the UNESCO has not designated Bagan as a World Heritage Site. The government believed that the ancient capital's hundreds of temples (even without the alleged badly restored ones), and large corpus of stone inscriptions were more than sufficient to win the designation. For whatever reason, the city is still is not a World Heritage Site.
Bagan today is a main tourist destination in the country's nascent tourism industry, which has long been the target of various boycott campaigns. The majority of over 300,000 international tourists to the country in 2011 are believed to have also visited Bagan. Several Burmese publications note that the city's small tourism infrastructure will have to expand rapidly even to meet a modest pickup in tourism in the following years.
Bagan Ancient City, Myanmar
 Bagan (Pagan)  with over 2000 Pagodas and Temples in upper Myanmar and you can visit Bagan all year round as there is no actual rainy Season like in the lower parts of Myanmar, therefore we called it Sommer Season.
Daily flights from Yangon to Bagan and from Chiang May via Mandalay also a direct flight from Seam Rap (Cambodia) by Air Bagan.
Bagan (Pagan) has a variety of Hotels, and offers from economical Rooms to 4* Hotels with all the comfort you expect, and with a wide culinary variety which includes Western, Asian, Chinese and the traditional Myanmar cuisine.
Bagan (Pagan) with their Pagodas and Temples dating back more than 1500 years of history is the most fascinating place for visitors and you arrange your sightseeing Tour by Car, Horse Cart or on your own on a Bicycle. Also you can have a idyllic Sunset Boat trip on the Ayeyarwaddy River to observe the beautiful Sunset over Bagan while enjoying a cold Drink.
Bagan (Pagan) is also a great place for beautiful local Art, such as Lacquer ware, Bamboo works and beautiful local made Cloth.
Other attraction is a day trip to Mount Popa, 50 Km from Bagan to view the Monastery built on top of a Mountain, 1518 mt.( 4981feet ) which you can visit, you only have to climb 777 steps to the top. Come to Bagan and be enchanted by the beauty of the ancient City.

How To Get To Bagan

When entering Bagan you pass through a ticket booth where you present your passport and purchase a US$10 ticket valid for your entire stay (July 2010). These passes are also needed for accommodation as hotels and hostels take down the ticket number when you check in.
Staff at the ticket booths round out their salaries by selling pirate copies of George Orwell's Burmese Days for around US$5, though if you negotiate you can get them down to $2.
By plane
You can fly to Bagan from Yangon on Air Mandalay [1], Air Bagan [2] or Myanma Airways [3]] for about US$ 65. Air Mandalay and Air Bagan also fly from Mandalay. (Yangon airways ceased operations for a while, but say they will resume operations on 16 October 2011).
From the airport to New Bagan, it takes about 15-20 minutes by car, and usually this will cost around 7000-10000 kyat. Most midrange and luxury hotels will give you a free pickup from the airport.
By train
Overnight trains run daily from Yangon, departing at about 4PM and arriving in Bagan at about 9AM the following day, at prices ranging from a few thousand Kyat (a few dollars) in second class, to US $50 for a "luxury" sleeper.
There is a direct train service running from Mandalay to Bagan with two departures daily. Tickets are available directly at the railway station and cost about US$6 one way. The journey takes about seven hours.
Most train routes in Myanmar are fairly nice, however when going on the Mandalay-Bagan route expect the train to be incredibly crowded. You will also have limited room to store your stuff, as well as cramped uncomfortable sitting conditions.

By bus

Comfortable bus links from Mandalay are available for US$8 one way. Night buses from Yangon leave in the afternoon and arrive early in the morning, and cost 18000 kyat at the ticket counters north of the Yangon train station.

By boat

A daily express ferry service runs down the Irrawaddy from Mandalay to Bagan taking about five hours. One way tickets are US$ 25.
A (very) slow ferry covers the same route frequently and costs 10$. Takes anything from 14 to 17 hours, but is a great opportunity to mix with the locals. Plastic chairs are available to rent on board. Otherwise, bring something to sit on and a cover for the early hours (leaves around 5am) and evening. Locals will be grateful to share theirs if you ask or if they see you shivering.


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