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Bagan, a temple town in Myanmar
Photo credit: @parkgdd
Bagan (Pagan) is an ancient city in central Myanmar (formerly Burma), southwest of Mandalay, the former royal capital.
Standing on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River, it’s known for the Bagan Archaeological Area (with Old Bagan at its heart), where more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments tower over green plains, down from 10,000-plus in its glory days.
The name Bagan comes from the old Burmese word Pugan, which is in turn derived from the older Burmese word Pyugam, meaning “Pyu Village” – and in its infancy Bagan was just one of many competing city-states inhabited by the Pyu people in that region.
The Burmese Pagan Kingdom that ruled the ancient temple plain of Bagan was extraordinarily devout. Fervent believers in Theravada Buddhism (the dominant form of Buddhism in most of southeast Asia), the Bagan kings and their subjects built over 10,000 stupas throughout their metropolis between the 9th and 13th centuries, when their kingdom was swept away by earthquakes and Kublai Khan and his invading Mongols. Some 2,230 temples, stupas and pagodas survive, a legacy of the Buddhist belief that to build a temple was to earn merit.
Most are superbly preserved or have been restored by Unesco, among others, and many contain frescoes, carvings and statues of Buddha, big and small. at Old Bagan, Myanmar