September 23, 2017

Ancient City, Bagan … Going to enter the list of “World Cultural Heritage”

  • Mhan Thit Nyein

Bagan is known to be a place able to create reminiscence of the grandeur of a royal city of 11th to 13th century having many cultural heritages, arts and crafts and historic events of Bagan era. However, apart from the researchers of archaeology and history, little has been known about the fact that descendants of Pyu were the first to have established the Bagan. It had been learnt Bagan (in Myanmar ပုဂံ-Pugan) descended stage by stage from Pyu Gama (ပ်ဴဂါမ) to Pu Ga Ma- Pu Gan (ပုဂါမ – ပုဂါမ္) to Pu Gan (ပုဂံ). In ancient stone inscriptions in Bagan, Myanmar version of Bagan was written as ပုကံ (Pu Kan) and the usage ပုဂံ (Pu Gan) was rarely seen. ပုကံ (Pu Kan) was also widely used in stone inscriptions of Pinya and Inn Wa period. ေပါကာမ္(Mon Language) and ေပါကာမ(Pali Language) were also seen in the (Order of Kyansitha King) stone inscriptions in Mon language erected at Shwe Sandaw Pagoda of Pyay by King Kyansitha.
Bagan (ပုဂံ)
Bagan is the name of a city and it embraces two different names, Upper Bagan and Lower Bagan depending on the locations. Upper Bagan is situated at Tagaung of Thunar Pranta Region and Lower Bagan is situated at Ari Madana of Tanpa Dipa Region where occur seven extant remains of Bagan palace.
After Sri Kestra had been ruined Pyu from Sri Kestra had migrated to Taung Nyo, then to Pantaung Thet Tha and proceeded to Mindon and finally reached Yon Hlut Kyun region where King Thamon Darit founded a royal city by bringing 19 villages altogether into the formation of city. The name of the 19 villages were Nyaung U, Naga Soe, Naga Kyit, Magyi Kyi, Satel, Kyauk Saga, Oun Mya, Nyaung Wun, Anurada, Taung Khwin, Ywamone, Kyin Lo, Kokko, Taung Pa, Myay Khe Twin, Thayetya, Singu, Yon Hlut and Ywa Site. King Thamon Darit had established Ari Madana Palace at Yone Hlut Kyun area.
Large amount of interesting religious edifices
It is quite interesting for Bagan-Nyaung U area and its environ having a cluster of large number of ancient edifices. Bagan attained a rapid development after Buddhism had flourished and the royal families and the people were constructing stupas, temples, caves, tunnels and monasteries of different sizes and shapes around Bagan and Nyaung U between AD 11th and 13th century. Then amazing number of religious edifices came into existence around Bagan and Nyaung U. According to an ancient verse the number of religious edifices of Bagan amounts to 4446, however, in 800 MY ie. 500 years ago under King Monhyin Mintra there appeared another verse expressing the amount of religious edifices of Bagan Era to be 4474, a few larger amount than that of the former verse. The Archaoelogical Department of Myanmar (Department of Stone Inscriptions in colonial period) had made a survey of counting the number of religious edifices in Bagan-Nyaung U area some 60 years ago and recorded the number as 2171 edifices. However in 1968 another counting survey was made to discover that Bagan area has 2217 and related religious structures. It is estimated that there were about 5000 religious structures in Bagan-Nyaung U area in its affluent time. Therefore, the Bagan area was selected for submission to be registered in World Cultural Heritage.
World Cultural Heritage
Eight cultural heritages of Myanmar , Padalin Cave, Inle Lake, 3 cities of Pyu, Bagan, Myauk U, 3 ancient cities of Upper Myanmar (Inwa, Amarapura, Sagaing, Mingun, Mandalay), 2 Mon cities (Bago, Hanthawaddy) were chosen for preliminary nomination to submit to World Cultural Heritage Center on 4th October 1996. Out of those preliminarily selected heritages, 3 ancient Pyu cities (Hanlin, Beikthano, Sri Kestra) were finally chosen to submit to UNESCO. Myanmar local professionals in combination with foreign experts had deliberated and endeavoured for the successful implementation of the task.
see page 9
from page 8
In order to be listed in World Cultural Heritage, Nomination Dossier (draft) which had been worked out in accordance with the suggestion and assessment of World Heritage Center was sent to World Heritage Center on 28 September 2012. Complete Nomination Dossier was sent through the office of the permanent representative of UNESCO at the time before 6pm French Standard Time on 1st February 2013.
The task for being registered in the list of World Cultural Heritage had been started in April 2012 and the nominated 3 Pyu cities were assessed to meet the norms and decided by the committee members of World Heritage Committee to be registered in World Cultural Heritage with the meeting decision (no. 38 COM 8.B.28) at 38th World Cultural Heritage Congress held at Doha between 15th and 25th of June 2014.
Now, local and international experts are striving for Bagan area to get registered in the list of World Cultural Heritage like the case of 3 Pyu Cities which has been registered in World Cultural Heritage by the exacting effort of Myanmar and foreign professionals.
Dignity and value of being a World Heritage is intangible, but profound and delicate. Sustaining those dignity and value of being classified as World Heritage can be accomplished only by the concerted effort of intellectuals, technicians and well wishers and consequently leaving the heritages for the posterity, technically known as “Heritage of Humanity”.
Endeavour for Nomination
Although other countries had to take 3 to 10 years working time from the start to the stage of submitting “Nomination Dossier,” Myanmar professional team has been striving to reach the stage of submitting “Nomination Dossier” within a much shorter time. While working for Bagan area to be listed in World Cultural Heritage, the earthquake of 2016 had ruined some of the religious edifices of Bagan. The local and foreign professionals are repairing the damaged ones to restore their original form, shape, and craftsmanship. The stupas, temples, monasteries and other religious edifices will be found manifesting again their original shape, form and value.
This article is presented in honour of Bagan Area which will gain the stage of submitting “Nomination dossier”and eventually be listed in World Cultural Heritage sooner or later.


Transtated by Khin Maung Win



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