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Published: September 25th 2016
Began, The Archeology Zone
The JJ Express bus was expensive at 25USD but then it was a sleeping luxury bus in which you could actually sleep. The three axles with 8 wheels gave it more stability, smoothing over the potholes. I was not paying for a night in the Hotel. A taxi to main Bus Terminal was shared with two English girls who were traveling on a cheaper bus also going to Began. With two food/toilet stops we arrived in Bagan main Bus Terminal before 0600hrs. The hotel in New Began was a bit far and the taxi fare would have been high but I managed to find two Korean girls who were going to another Hotel near mine in New Bagan.
However on the way to Bagan we had to pay an extra 25USD for entering the monument area (this is for all foreigners) which gave us access to all monuments except the . The hotel was kind enough to give me room so early that I could take a shower and freshen up. Compared to the humble place inYangonthis was a 4 star level place with all the amenities (as the Korean girl said “even had a
Next was the tour of the protected area with the Myriad of temples and stupas. As I did inYangonI did not want to pay for a guide and I could not find anyone to share that cost with me. So, got a map of the area with most important landmarks, hired an Electric motor bike and set off. Only problem was as it had rained heavily earlier and some of the roads to ‘not so important shrines’ were muddy in places and impossible to pass. So I had to stick to the main roads.
Bagan was the capital ofMyanmarfrom 900 to 1250 AD This called the Bagan era.Mandalaywas the first capital. Some significant change in statue creation, way of life and social behavior is attributed this era. The monument zone is approximately 100sq KM and is littered with big and small pagodas and temples. Some of the weaker ones had been damaged in the recent earth quake. Only when you travel the length and breadth of it you realize the efforts gone into its building over millennia. The devotion of the people and their rulers are commendable. I do not know if the kings built them
because they wanted to show off or they used it to give their subjects a target so that they will be focused on something to avoid distractions.
There were five major pagodas (and thousands of smaller ones) and the Ananda temple, which was uniquely beautiful but partially affected by the earth quake. Apart from these there was impressive ornamentalThribhuvanPalacefor the king which looked recently renovated and painted inMyanmarcolours of red and gold. Dhanmagangyl was a huge brick pagoda probably the biggest by bulk. Ananda temple has a bit of Indian architecture and 4 standing Buddha statues facing N, E, S,& W. Schwe zi gone Pagoda had a beautiful top but covered for renovation after the quake.
The walls of Bagan covered a small area but was open to the river. The Iravaddy river had been the artery ofMyanmar. Fed by monsoons and melting Himalayan ice the river is navigable throughout the year and a lot of goods traffic goes through it and connects major cities inMyanmarto the sea. To get to the shores was a problem for me though as it was not easily accessible by bike with 100m cliffs prevented one getting to the water. In the
end I had to go down a little bit south where there was a road leading to the shores.
Opted for a minibus ride toMandalaythe next morning. Knew it will not be very comfortable but they will collect me from the hotel and bring me to myMandalayhotel.
Going to collect the people who had booked on the minibus we went through a lot of backyards showing us the village life of the area for nearly an hour.
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