Shwesandaw Paya, Bagan
And finally Shwesandaw, the most famous viewpoint of Bagan. A pyramid-style pagoda with five terraces leading to the circular top. King Anawratha built this temple in the middle of it´s kingdom. Be prepared to meet all the hawkers of Bagan, also lots of tourists, but besides that the views are great.
The Shwesandaw Pagoda offers the highest terrace that was open to the public during my time (Nov.07). And because of its convinient location between the Old Bagan area and pagodas like Dhammayangyi and Sulamani, it is the right spot for sunrise and sunset!
To the foot of Shwesandaw, there is also an inconspicuously looking building, housing a big lying Buddha statue worth a visit.
On the opposite side you can find the old top cover (hti) of the pagoda, which crashed down from the top during an earthquake.
Many pagoda terraces have been closed, officially to prevent more damage from tourists and for restauration. But rumours also have it that tourist should be lead to the watchtower...
Still there are some spots left, for sunrise even some better ones, like my favourite Nyein Gon Paya from where you get a huge mass of payas between you and the sun.
Shinbinthalyaung or recumbent image of Buddha is in a long brick "cave" next to Shwesandaw pagoda. It is the largest of its kind in Bagan and is 18 metres long.
There is another in Myinkaba but its head faces south wheras this one faces north a position assumed by Gautama Buddha when he was lying on his deathbed.
It is believed that it was built in the 11th century AD.
You enter via a small door.
Shwesandaw is supposed to have the holy relics of the Buddha (sacred hairs)inside it. It was the first pagoda built by King Anawrahta after his conquest of Thaton in 1057AD.
The base is rectangular in shape with five terraces which are accessible by a flight of steps.
It is also known as the sunset pagoda for obvious reasons. It is well worth visiting just before sunset.
En este templo te permiten subir a las cinco terrazasque tiene y es un buen sitio para ver la puesta de sol
Tienes que subir unas escaleras con mucha pendiente
En la mayoría de los templos prohiben la subida a las terrazas
On this temple you may go up the five terraces and it is a good place to see the sunset
You must climb an staircase very steep
In most of the temples is not allowed to up the terraces
Almost all travel guides say that this is THE place to watch sunset. Sadly before sunset, the whole pagoda is already crowded with too many people. View over there is indeed spectacular with all the grand temples like Dhammayangyi, Thatbyinnyu etc...
This temple built in 1057, is one of the more interesting stupas. Stupas are cone shaped and are solid on the inside containing some sort of relic from the Buddha. He must have had a lot of hair and teeth! Shwesandaw supposedly contains a Buddha hair from Thaton.
This stupa is a great place to photograph the surrounding temples, especially a wide-angle shot at sunset.