Myanmar has the latest addition to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the form of Bagan Pagodas, which has over 3,000 Buddhist monuments. The site got inscribed on the list in July 2019. These Pagodas date between 11th to 13th centuries. By Kumar Shree 

‘India in Myanmar’, the official Facebook page of the Indian Embassy in Myanmar recently posted an image of a newspaper clip on their feed. This clip conveyed that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken up the restoration work of five pagodas in Bagan’s ancient cultural zone. Myanmar’s Archaeology and National Museum Department confirms the same as per the news.

 

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Located in the Mandalay region, Bagan is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Myanmar. The ancient capital of the Pagan kingdom, which reigned between 9th and 13th centuries, is home to an outstanding display of Buddhist art and architecture. 

Sitting on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River, Bagan has over 3,000 ancient monuments and pagodas spread at the site. These monuments include temples, stupas, monasteries, and pilgrimage centers. As UNESCO puts it, “These monuments demonstrate centuries of the cultural tradition of the Theravada Buddhist practice of merit-making (Kammatic Buddhism) and belongs to the peak of the Pagan period (11th to 13th centuries).”

 

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The property is divided into eight serial components and much like Hampi in India, seven of these sit on one side of the Ayeyarwady River, and one on the other. Many of these monuments are in varying degrees of disrepair, which has crept because of prolonged negligence and natural calamities. 

ASI has taken up the emergency maintenance work for five Pagodas that were damaged during a severe earthquake in 2016. Their complete restoration will take years.

 

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Talking to Myanmar Times, U Soe Soe Lin, deputy director of the Archaeology and National Museum Department in Bagan, said, “Emergency maintenance for integrity will be done this year, and the rest will be done step-by-step after doing research on the structures.”

Previously, ASI has restored the Ananda Temple in Bagan, which was built around 1105 AD by King Kyansittha of Myanmar and is considered a masterpiece of Mon architecture.

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