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Ananda Pahto

One of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples, Ananda suffered considerable damage in the 1975 earthquake but has been totally restored. Thought to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the end of the Early Bagan period and the beginnning of the Middle. . . . The central square measures 53 m along each side, while the superstructure rises in terraces to a decorative hti (umbrella-like decorate structure) 51 m above th ground. The entranceways make the structure a perfect Greek cross." --Lonely Planet Myanmar, p. 310.

Unlike most of the pagodas in this area, which take the form of solid stupas that one cannot enter, the Ananda (or beautiful) Pagoda is constructed more along the lines of a western house of worship. Left: Entering it from the left, one comes upon a sanctuary containing a gilded standing image of the Buddha, two or three stories high. Moving clockwise through around a corridor with niches, each containing images of the Buddha and events in his life, one comes upon three other giant images, each with a different gesture. Two of these are original, two are replacements after fire and earthquake destroyed them.

Right: Note the quasi-corinthian columns in this eleventh- or twelfth-century pagoda.

One of the passageways.

Two of the large images of the Buddha in the central shrines.

Left: A distant view of Ananda. Next, Gubyaukgyi — another hollow pagoda, this one covered with hundreds of frescoes of the life of Buddha. One of the most interesting things inside was a partially ruined bas-relief, whose bottom half revealed an exposed brick shape over which stucco had been placed and then molded. Middle: A view from outside the pagoda.

Last modified 17 April 2001