History and Background
Ananda Temple was constructed in 1091 by King Kyansittha, the structure of Ananda Temple is very artistic and the ground plan is like a perfect Greek cross with pavilions on all four sides. Likely one of the most famous pagodas in Bagan, it is 51m high in total while the entire compound measures 180m from north to south and 182m from east to west. In the centre of the temple are high niches enshrining four colossal standing Buddhas on a throne, each of them nearly 10m tall. The Buddha statues in the north and south were built during the 12th century. However, the temple was destroyed by a fire in the 17th century. It was subsequently rebuilt, which was when the Buddha statues of the east and west were constructed. Ananda Temple was severely damaged again in an earthquake in 1975, but it has been fully renovated since then. The temple celebrated its 900th anniversary in 1990 when some portions of the temple were gilded.
Why should visit
Ananda Temple is the grandest temple in Bagan and a must-see. It looks different from the rest and has four giant Buddha statues inside, at four cardinal points. Each of these statues represents the four images of Buddha after attaining nirvana – Kakusandha Buddha in the north, Kassapa Buddha in the south, Konagamana Buddha in the east and Gautama Buddha in the west.
Bagan can be visited all year round.