Ananda Temple: Overview

One of Bagan’s most well-known and stunning temples is the Ananda temple. It was one of the first significant temples constructed in Bagan and is in good condition. The temple is close to the Tharabar gate, one of the 12 gates that originally served as the entrance to the ancient Bagan city walls.

The Ananda pagoda, also known as Ananda pahto and Ananda phaya, is a one-story building that dates back to the early Bagan period and was constructed in that region. The Mon and North Indian influences can be seen in the architectural style.

Hanoi Foodie Vespa Tour

An overall look of Ananda Temple

The Legend of Ananda Temple

The history of the Ananda temple’s foundation is described in a local tradition. End of the 11th century: Bagan was visited by eight Indian monks. King Kyanzittha invited them to a meeting.

The monks described to the king a fabled cave temple in the Himalayas and gave him a vision of the temple and a snowy environment. The King was so moved by the narrative and vision that he made the decision to build a copy of the temple in Bagan. According to legend, the King ordered the architects executed once the Ananda temple was finished in order to ensure that nothing similar could ever be constructed again.

Hanoi Foodie Vespa Tour

The legend of Ananda Temple

Ananda Temple’s Architecture

The Ananda is a graceful, symmetrical building with a Greek cross-like design. The building’s centerpiece, a gilded top known as a shikhara, is one of its most striking and lovely characteristics. This tower-like building is from North India, and the Ananda’s architectural design reflects this influence.

Each of the five recesses in the shikhara, which are stacked on top of one another, houses a Buddha image. A hti, an umbrella-shaped spire decoration, is perched atop that. In 1990, to commemorate the beginning of Ananda’s construction nine centuries earlier, the shikhara and hti were gold-plated. The structure’s overall height, including the hti, is roughly 51 meters.

Chinthes guarding receding terraces

Six regressing terraces lie atop the core square block. The second terrace has a tiny golden shikhara in each corner. Numerous Chinthes, the mythical Burmese lions that watch over Buddhist temples all around Burma, may be found on the terraces.

Four enormous standing Buddha statues are located in a square room in the center of the whitewashed building. The central room is surrounded by a passageway and has three rows of niches that house Buddha statues in various postures. Around 80 substantial sandstone reliefs depict incidents from the 2,500-year-old Gautama Buddha’s life.

Hanoi Foodie Vespa Tour

Amanda Temple’s Architecture

The four 9½ meter tall standing Buddha images

A sizable square room with four superb standing Buddha images set in arched niches is located in the Ananda pagoda’s middle. The four former Buddhas who have attained nirvana, namely Kassapa Buddha (South), Kakusandha Buddha (North), Konagamana Buddha (East), and Gautama Buddha, are represented by the teak hardwood 912 meters tall golden statues (West).

When the Ananda was constructed in the early 12th century, the Kakusandha Buddha image and the Kassapa Buddha image already existed. They are making the Dhammachakka Mudra, which symbolizes the turning of the Wheel of Dhamma, or the Buddha’s teachings. The Gautama image and the Konagamana image were probably created in the 17th century in the Mandalay style after the originals were destroyed by a fire.

Hanoi Foodie Vespa Tour

An image of the four 9½ meter tall standing Buddha

Jataka tales plaques

The Ananda pagoda has the most plaques of any Bagan temple, which may be found on its base and six eroding tiers. The plaques are made of glazed terracotta tiles that illustrate stories from the Jataka Tales, which are legends concerning the Buddha’s earlier incarnations. The Mara, a demonic adversary of the Buddha who strives to keep him from achieving enlightenment, is depicted on 553 plaques that line one side of the Ananda’s foundation. Images of the Gods celebrating the demise of Mara and his army can be found on the other side.

Each plaque on the terraces depicts a distinct scene from a particular Jataka tale. There are 537 plaques with descriptions written in the old Pali language on the first three tiers. Another group of 375 plaques with a description in Mon language are located on the higher terraces.

Hanoi Foodie Vespa Tour

One feature of Ananda Temple

Ananda Temple: Tourist Information

Similar to other Bagan temples, visitors are required to leave all footwear outside and enter entirely barefoot. Shorts and skirts are not advised since they could result in access to the shrine being denied. The best months to visit Ananda are every year from October to February due to the temperate temperatures and little rainfall, which are also ideal for hot air balloon rides. Thousands of villagers attend the Ananda Temple celebration, which takes place on Pyatho’s full moon (between December and January according to the lunar calendar) and draws tourists as well. During the three-day celebration, up to a thousand monks read the Sutra continuously, which is a really lovely experience for you to fully comprehend Buddhism’s culture in specific and Myanmar’s in general. Every hotel offers the Temple tour and transportation upon request.

Hanoi Foodie Vespa Tour

A picture of Ananda Temple