Of the many temples in the Bagan Archaeological Zone in Myanmar, Ananda Temple is generally considered to be one of the most important and most beautiful. To visit Ananda Temple you need to pay the $10 USD entrance fee for the Bagan Archaeological Zone, which is open every day, all day, allowing visitors to enjoy sunrise and sunset views of the temples
About Ananda Temple
Ananda Temple is a distinctive cruciform shaped building with a 51 metre high central spire, constructed in 1105 under the patronage of Pagan King Kyansittha. King Kyansittha was notable for expanding the power and status of the Pagan Empire, and well as building a series of impressive temples. Stylistically, Ananda Temple is clearly influenced by the architectural style of India, which is where Buddhism originated. According to legend, the temple is based on a description of a temple in the Himalayas given to King Kyansittha by eight Indian Buddhist monks. After hearing the account of the temple in the Himalayas King Kyansittha commissioned the monks to build him the temple they described in Bagan. After finishing the building, according to legend, the King ordered the execution of the architecturally adept monks to make sure that another similar temple would never be created elsewhere. This legend has similarities to the tales of Pharaohs entombing architects inside the pyramids they designed, for similar reasons, and may or may not be true.
Aside from its shape and size, Ananda Temple has a number of other notable features. Principal amongst these are the four large standing statues of the Lord Buddha. The statues are all 9.5 metres tall and made of teak gilded in gold, with each of the four statues, which represent the four Buddhas to have achieved enlightenment, face in different directions. The poses of each of these Buddha statues is different with different objects and different smaller statues adjacent to them. These different poses and compositions each have special significance according to Buddhist theology. As well as these four main statues, there are a further 1,500 smaller stone statues and over 2,000 stone plaques depicting the Jakata Tales, which tell the story of the lives of the past and future Buddhas. Ananda Temple is in this respect the most elaborately decorated of the temple in the Bagan Archaeological Zone and the one which you need to allow the most time to explore.
Location of Ananda Temple
- Ananda Temple is 10.9 km by road from Bagan Railway Station.
Travel to Ananda Temple
Ananda Temple are located near to Bagan. Follow the links below for information about travel to Bagan:
- Bus times from Inle Lake to Bagan
- Train times from Yangon to Bagan
- Train times from Mandalay to Bagan