Bagan Poor Historical Site
Bagan is the birthplace of Myanmar History and Myanmar Culture, Bagan Kingdom left indelible traditional heritage with its numerous temples. But besides that, there is a lot of Myanmar traditions and customs, which are highly famous and are originally from Bagan. Those things attract not only Myanmar people but foreigners as well who are visiting Bagan. It has been ages that local people rely on the traditional production as their mean of living.
Bagan, a beautiful land of handicrafts, lacquer ware, sculptors and turners, is still well known around the world as it is full of visitors every high season, and each year more than the previous. Some years ago, goods in Bagan were so much demanded that some careers could earn very well. But things change a lot these days. Some people are reluctant to do these jobs, like having a handicrafts’ shop or selling lacquer ware. Not because visitors don’t like them anymore, but visitors, especially foreigners go to the factories directly, and per consequent hardly buy to the small shop or booth. So the business of booths around pagodas is getting down.
A lady who has been running that business for over 10 years opened her heart saying that visitors hardly buy things from her shop. But the reason she kept on doing this activity is to maintain the culture of Bagan, Myanmar.
Bagan still stands first as a marvelous historical site in Myanmar. It’s been updated with better tourism and grand hotels. Myanmar heritage still look strong and wonderful. Likewise, we can see that paintings and sculptures on Pagodas’ walls, which are still so unique and many people keep researching them.
But it’s also one of the only place where you can find sand-art. Local painters copy those awesome paintings from walls of pagodas and modernize them with sand from Ayeyarwaddy shore. It has been popular since four years ago. Local artists purify the sand and create pictures with it. It was very popular and demanding last 2 years. As the artists draw straight away before the customers, it drew foreigners’ attention very much. Plus paintings’ price was quite reasonable. But the demand decreased within one year. Then artists tried to increase the demand by creating sand-statues instead of sand paintings, which is harder to create and it’s very detailed, so it is pricy. But the high prices prevented it from becoming a good business. An artist shared his thoughts saying that he believed it was because of high hotel charges and travelling charges, visitors don’t want to spend money on souvenirs anymore.
Another beautiful tradition of Bagan is horse-cart, which is in harmony with Bagan, and the sound of horse galloping has always been nice to hear around Bagan. However, we cannot hear them much on the way from Nyaung-U to old Bagan anymore. The electric bikes have been used since early 2013 instead of carts. They are quicker and cheaper, so that visitors rarely take horse-carts which are rather expensive. Also the shaded trees are lacking horse-carts under them. I, personally think that Bagan with horse-carts might be seen only in pictures in a few years from now. I am so sorry since Bagan will be meaningless without horse-carts. The horse-cart business has a hard time, and they substituted big, strong horses with small ones. It’s so heart breaking to see that horse-cart tradition not alive anymore in Bagan.
There are lots of awesome historical places to visit in Bagan. There is a lot of remarkable handwork. There are pagodas, temples, forts and gates that passed through times and old dynasties. Handicrafts’ business also plays a vital role.
But I fear that if the traditions of Bagan get lost, Bagan will be lost as well. Although it’s hard to survive for those business, local people keep on trying to survive and strive with their heart to make this culture carry on in Bagan.
Article translated from Eleven Media Group by the Mingalapar Forum team