With a plethora of temples to see in Bagan, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. In reality, you only need to visit about 4 dozen. Still a lot, eh?
Well, the number of temples you’ll see and which ones are going to be entirely up to you (or your guide), the length of your stay and the weather. Take note that some of my friends visited more temples than the ones listed below because they biked around Bagan on our second day.
We decided to avail of Mya Thida’s tour for convenience. Their van comfortably fit our group plus one of the owners also served as our driver/guide.
Now, I won’t bore you to death with the historical facts for each temple. You can always Google that, right?
Inset: Largest of the three sitting Buddhas
This temple houses 4 Buddhas: a 46 feet high central Buddha and two on its sides each measuring 33 feet, and a 90-feet long reclining Buddha with its head facing north on the verge of Nirvana at the side of the temple.
Our last stop before lunch was the Ananda Temple – one of the finest and most venerated temple in Bagan.
Had to run back inside the temple after taking this shot. Not a very good idea wandering here at midday…barefoot – something you have to get used to when visiting temples in Myanmar.
And because it was extremely hot, imagine our delight when we saw a sorbet vendor outside Ananda Paya.
Thambula Paya is probably one of the few temples, if not the only one, built by a queen.
Just like Gubyauk Gyi, it houses frescoes, therefore, photography is not allowed.
We saw an old lady herding her goats and we asked if we could take her photo. She agreed and so we clicked away. We thanked her, but then she asked for a ‘photo blessing’. At first we didn’t understand what she meant so she cupped her hands. Apparently, she was asking for a donation. The smallest bill we had at the time was MMK1,000 (about a dollar), so we handed it to her and went on our way.
Then she tried to get us to take a picture of her friend, too (so we’d give her a ‘photo blessing’ as well). That didn’t sit well with us so we tried to ignore her, but she kept on calling us – more like yelling at us.
When we reached Tayoke-Pyay, Lecky and I felt she was driving her herd towards us. Good thing our van arrived to pick us up.
Thit Sar Waddy temple according to one of Mya Thida’s owner
Finally, our guide brought us to his ‘special place’, his sanctuary, if you will. He says he goes here whenever he wants some alone time.
Save for a few painting vendors who popped out of nowhere — probably because they heard our raucous laughter — we had the temple all to ourselves.