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July, 2004

Burma photo.
Collapsing arch
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— Lay Myethnar Complex

This group of buildings was one of the most interesting sites we visited at Bagan. It once contained a mix of temples, monastery, etc. Except for the large temple, most are now in various stages of collapse. The unrestored ruins are fascinating. This is a region with frequent, strong earthquakes, and the buildings and pagodas were built of brick, often with little or no mortar holding them together (see the photo at left). The signs of earthquake damage are common throughout the Bagan area.

Here are some photos of the Lay Myethnar Complex, and the adjoining ruins:

wall  | ruins  | terrace  | goats  | arch  | temple




Burma photo.
A pagoda
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— The Halpin Group

Many of the smaller buildings in Bagan do not have names. The government has assigned them numbers, and, in some cases, they are assigned to groups. This pagoda (see the photo at left) is the largest structure in the Halpin Group. Men (only) are allowed to climb the steps to the top landing of the pagoda. The steps are surprisingly steep, narrow, uneven in height, and hot in the mid-day sun. Still, it was a fine view from the top. Coming down was interesting.

In all of the Buddhist religious sites we were required to take off our shoes and walk barefoot. In those temples that are in regular use, the main walkways are kept clean and are often made of marble. Once you stray off the marble, the brick can get very hot. In places like the Halpin Group, the brick walks are deteriorating, covered in broken brick and stones, and home to sharp thorn bushes. We often had bruised, burned, and punctured feet, but we still enjoyed wandering around these less-visited sites.

Here are three photos that Jim took while we explored the Halpin Group:




Burma photo.
Htilominlo Guphaya Gyi
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— Htilominlo Guphaya Gyi

Htilominlo was interesting because it still retains much of the original artwork on the walls and ceilings, although it is deteriorating. It also has many of its original windows and doorways still open to admit light. The Buddhist temples were specifically designed to take advantage of the interplay of light and shadow to accentuate the feeling of awe that worshipers would feel when entering. In most of these old temples and pagodas, the windows and doorways have been bricked up for security, and the interiors are dark and forboding. Without their original coating of plaster and paint, the dark brick in many of the buildings adds to the gloomy feel.

Here are our photos of Htilominlo:

nat  | hallway  | ceiling  | Buddha




Burma photo.
That Byin Nyu
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— That Byin Nyu

That Byin Nyu is the highest pagoda on the Bagan Plain. It was built by King Alaungsithu in the middle of the 12th century. Like many of the most popular temples, the stairs to the top are now closed to visitors.

Here are two photos of the exterior That Byin Nyu:




Burma photo.
Mingala Zedi

 
— Index —

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— Miscellaneous temple photos

We visited a great many temples and pagodas, large and small, and many were fascinating but don't warrant more than a picture or two. So, here are some photos of the many sights we saw that haven't made it into the previous sections:

Bupaya  | children  | horse cart  | bell  | pagoda
Buddha  | girl  | stairs  | temple  | view

 

 

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Jim and Jamie Richter, http://gotouring.com/razzledazzle/
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Created 7/2004. All text & photos are © 2004 Jim Richter.