The Ananda temple was built in 1105 AD.  The temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella known as hti, which is the top adornment found on almost all the pagodas in Myanmar. The Buddhist temple houses four standing Buddhas, each one facing the East, North, West, and South directions.  It is considered an architectural wonder in a fusion of Mon (Mon Kingdoms established by the Mon people who ruled Burma) and adopted Indian style of architecture. It is a highly revered temple of Bagan.

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This is what we saw as we walked up to the temple

We didn’t walk in at first but walked around the side to see how huge the building actually was.  Thu Thu spent some time with the couple from Washington D.C. while Shawn and I wandered around taking photos.

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Thu Thu talking about the temple to members of our group
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Pagoda at the top

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Mythological guardian of the temple
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Thanakha – prized for its sunblock and aesthetic properties – produced by grinding the bark on a flat smooth stone with water

After all the photo taking and explanations, we went inside.  The first section consisted of all kinds of souvenirs that you could bargain for. There was a man who wanted to sell me a small statue which looked like an antiquity. He said it only cost $20.  I was polite but said no, thank you.  I met him a few times in the temple and he was still trying to sell me his statue.  When we met up with the rest of the group and began walking to the van – he was right there beside me still giving me the hard sell.  I finally said, ok – $5 take it or leave it.  He took it!  It was funny because I didn’t have my wallet so Shawn paid for it.  He has it on his souvenir shelf. I must look like a push-over for souvenir sellers.

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Lacquerware sold in the entrance hall
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Little boy with his electronic game – too busy to bother with the pagoda sights.
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The Buddhas were impressive with many bright colored lights enhancing the experience

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Guardian of the Buddha in the east wing
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Tunnel-like windows

My son and I left the group to wander around by ourselves.  We heard there was a pool of water where you could get a refection of the whole building. We went to check it out.

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I could only get the shot by turning my camera sideways
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Reflection of the top of the pagoda

This was turning into quite an excursion day and we weren’t leaving until we had experienced a sunset view of Bagan – although, with the usual evening cloud cover we were in doubt of a brilliant sunset.

Htilominlo Temple

Once more we were on our way to another temple.  This time it was Htilominlo temple where afterward, we would get our horse and cart for a ride among the Bagan temples. The Htilominlo Temple is three stories high and built with red brick.  It dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries and best known for its ornate stucco features. As I mentioned before, Hti is the final ornament that tops almost all the pagodas. The temple was actually named after the youngest son of the king who chose him by the tilt of an umbrella.

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A renovation was going on at the top.  Souvenir sellers lined the entrance.
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Side view of the temple

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Looks like a mythical creature on the corner
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Sitting Buddha
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Side view of the Buddha’s face

We had arrived in the late afternoon and there were very few people around. We were on a time schedule so it was hard to take photos but as we were walking out, I managed to take a few of the umbrella stall and two women who were packing up to leave.  They very kindly allowed me to take a photo.

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Colorful wooden Pathein umbrellas used by the people for centuries
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The women were closing their stall and were nice to allow me a photo.  They come from the Kayan Tribe in the south of Myanmar.  Their wearing of brass rings is a sign of beauty.

On Our Way – In a Horse-Drawn Dray

We left the interior of the temple grounds and when we arrived outside we saw several horse-drawn carts.  We chose the one we wanted and Shawn magnanimously offered me the seat in the front with the driver.  I was happy that Thu Thu came with us.  She and Shawn sat in the back.  The other couple in our group had their own cart and they both reclined in the back.  I took a photo of their cart.

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Horse cart on its way

I had a great seat next to the driver and he was very kind to stop everytime I wanted a photo.  I think Shawn was getting frustrated because it was so bumpy sitting in the back and very hard to take pictures.  We stopped every once in a while just so he could jump out and get a photo. I was pleased to find out that the horse belonged to the owner and was well-taken care of -at least he looked healthy.

Just a few definitions – Stupas are pagodas that you can go around but generally cannot go into – because there is no entrance.  Temples are pagodas that you can go inside and typically have four entrances and exits located north, south, east and west with a Buddha at each entrance.

Look for more information and photos about our ride in and around some of the 2,000 Bagan temples in the area.

 

 

 

 

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