Temples and Monuments

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Gawdawpalin

 Built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries it is the second tallest and one of the most imposing on Bagan's plain.  It was close to the epicenter of the 1975 earthquake and sustained massive damage.  The tower collapsed and large cracks appeared in the upper levels.  There has been substantial rebuilding and strengthening of the structure.   About 40% of it's stucco moldings survived

Monks collecting alms outside Thande

Buddha Image Gawdawpalin

Htilominlo Pahto "Blessings Of The World" 1211AD
Determined to acquire relics and Tripitaka manuscripts held by the Mon,  King Nanuha Anawrahtahe assembled his armies and marched on Lower Burma

Along with the relics and manuscripts the conqueror returned with 30,000 Mon prisoners, many of them craftsmen and their King and Queen.  And so began the first Barmar Kingdom which was to leave the world with the amazing legacy of the temples of Bagan

Enough of the original ornate plaster work has survived the centuries  to give us a good idea of the  magnificence of the  more imposing monuments and the skills handed down from those captured Mon craftsmen

The young scholar has a snack and does his homework while his mother sets out her stall at one of the temple entrances

The thanaka paste on his face is widely used by  Burman women and children of both sexes.  Made from the bark of the Murraya Paniculata tree, it cools the skin, tightens pores, controls oiliness acts as a sun block and it is claimed, prevents wrinkles and pimples!  

Women in the fields use a thick layer on face and arms.  In the city it is used more as a decoration, a veined leaf design being very popular

Thanaka paste is also sometimes used as a medicine for childhood coughs and colds

Ananda - Wisdom Of The Buddha
A masterpiece of Mon architecture.  One of the earliest and arguably the most beautiful of the estimated 13,000 temples built on the Bagan plain between 1057 and 1287 when Bagan fell to the forces of Kublai Khan

Representing the endless wisdom of Buddha, Ananda was completed in 1091 for King Kyanzittha who is said to have personally executed the architect so it could not be duplicated

Earthquake damage has been painstakingly repaired and the beehive-like ‘sikhara’ crown and ‘hti’ umbrella, were gilded to mark the temple’s 900th anniversary in 1990.  In 2002 and 2005 it was still possible to arrive at Ananda at the height of the tourist season and find it's courtyard almost deserted

South facing Kassapa Buddha

West facing Gautama Buddha

Naturally illuminated passageway

Built into huge niches at the four cardinal points of Ananda are four towering teak Buddha images some 30 ft high. The South facing statue  is contemporaneous with the building as is the one to the North

Seven rows of arched niches displaying Buddha images adorn the passages for which the architects devised a perfect plan to allow in light and ventilation.   Ananda Okkyaung Monastery within the compound is well worth a visit

East Facing Kanagamana Buddha flanked by Devas

As always the vendors await

An all together grander version of our little cart
Gubyaukgyi at Myinkaba

Built in 1113, is noted for its wall paintings depicting the previous lives of the Buddha 
Gubyaukgyi

Gubyaukgyi

Although there is often nobody around to stop you, flash photography is forbidden for obvious reasons.  This charming elephant is one of the few frescoes sufficiently well lit for me to take a photo with available light 

Sulamani Pahto 1183

Known as the Crowning Jewel, Sulamani was more than just a temple it originally housed a 100 monks cells along it's inner walls.  A  library, lecture and ordination halls were a part of the complex

Sulamani

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