Ananda Temple

Must See Ananda Temple

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Old Bagan, Myanmar

Just east of the old city walls is the Ananda Temple, a surviving example of Mon architecture and one of Bagan's four surviving temples and most beautiful buildings. The name Ananda comes from Buddha's cousin and secretary and in Pali means 'bliss.' Completed in 1019, the brick and plaster temple was inspired by a visit to Kyanzittha's palace by eight Indian monks who arrived begging for alms.

It is said that after the temple was completed King Kyanzittha had the architects executed so they would never again replicate the design. Both Mon and Indian styles influenced the temple's architecture which is symmetrical and shaped like a cruciform.

The roof has six layered terraces decorated with Burmese lions and is topped by a small pagoda covered with a hti or small umbrella-like ornament.Four gilded Buddhas each facing a different direction stand in the centre of the temple. Together they represent the four Buddhas to have reached nirvana, and each statue has a different name.

Only the north and south Buddhas are said to be original. In 1975, the temple was badly damaged earthquake but has since been restored and remains well-maintained. On the temple's ground is a small monastery decorated with 18th century murals showing the Buddha's life.

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