This was our first step back in time. Cue Twilight Zone music.
Okay, maybe the first step back in time was taking the flight from Yangon to Bagan leaving from an airport that should have been painted black and white and been in a 40's movie. Next was getting into a car from at least 30 years ago, which when I described it later to teachers who have traveled extensively, nonplussed they said: "Oh that sounds like Cuba." Our taxi dated to about 1970. And if it wasn't for the falling headliner, missing door handle, windows that rolled down but not up, most of the rear seat coverd..but only most, then maybe it would have been charming. Fun and unusual: Yes. Charming ain't gonna cut it.
Cue Starship Enterprise.
Warp speed back in time to I don't know oh maybe a 1,000 years ago.
Cliff notes from our faithful guidebook, The Lonely Planet. Bagan was a prime spot for activty for about 250 years dating from about 1,047 and ending with the footsteps of Kubla Khan raiders in 1287.
We stayed in Old Bagan, where the government relocated all the inhabitants away to create the Archaeological Zone, located on the bend of the Ayeyarwady River. Hotels are allowed as are a few local restaurants, but other than that it's an arechological zone.
As Lonely Planet says: "Imagine all the medieval cathedrals of Europe sitting on Manhatten Island --and then some-- and you begin to get a sense of the ambition of the Bagan kings who built as many as 4,400 temples over a 250 year period." Ayup, 4,400 temples.
After being overtaken by Kulai Khan and the Mongol invasion, the sites reamined deserted and untouched over the centuries.
The "why" is what I'm still trying to find out. All I can surmise is offering to the gods.
These pictures can't convey the vast amount of temples in this area. I kept looking for a great post card or aerial shot, but the best I could do was take a photo of a small area from the top of a temple.
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