Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Myanmar chapter Bagan and Central Myanmar has to say about Bagan:
“A destination making nearly all Myanmar itineraries, Bagan fills a 26-sq-mile plain of 4000-plus temples that date back centuries. It’s one of Myanmar’s most wondrous sights and rivals Cambodia’s Angkor Wat in terms of scope and jaw-droppability.
Its tallest and most majestic temples – made of brick and topped with gilded pinnacles – are awesome, mixing Hindu and Buddhist images with locally brewed nat (spirits) in nooks.
Myanmar’s greatest architectural site has as many red-brick temples on a plain the size of Manhattan island as Europe has medieval cathedrals. The kings of Bagan, who introduced central Myanmar to Theravada Buddhism, were fond of making statements. Their building frenzy of over 4,400 temples lasted only 230 years, fading before Mongols poured over the plains in 1287.
Today, temples like Ananda Pahto are stand-out highlights that no-one misses, while lesser-visited ones hide colourful murals and hidden stairways that lead to temple tops and wondrous views of the temple-spiked scene. If the vendor hassle at some of the more popular sites starts to wear on you, get a bike, a hat, some water and a torch, and take off for lesser-seen ones. Like travel anywhere, Bagan is what you make of it.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD