September 23, 2017

Counting Temples — Inventory of Bagan pagodas underway

Ancient pagodas in Bagan, one of tourists attractions of Myanmar. Photo: Aye Min Soe
Ancient pagodas in Bagan, one of tourists attractions of Myanmar. Photo: Aye Min Soe

AN inventory of pagodas in two zones of Bagan has been completed as a prerequisite for listing Bagan as a World Heritage Site, according to the Archaeology and National Museum Department under the Ministry of Culture.
Bagan was previously demarcated into eleven zones in July 2015, after which an inventory of pagodas from each zone was initiated. By the end of December 2015, an inventory had been complied of two of those zones.
“In one area, there are over three-hundred pagodas. In another, there are over five hundred. There were also some instances whereby pagodas were discovered which had been buried under mounds of earth—we had to comb the forest [in order to locate them]. The inventory includes those pagodas buried under the ground,” explained U Thein Lwin, the department’s deputy director general.
According to the same government department, the inventory of pagodas in Bagan will be completed in February 2016 in order for Bagan to be added to the list of World Heritage Sites.
Skilled staff from the Archaeology Department used a GPS tracking system to locate the unearthed pagodas during the inventory project, which started in July 2015.
U Thein Lwin said there are more pagodas in Bagan than people first thought.
“Many maintenance repairs were made between 1996 and 2005, but they weren’t very comprehensive. There were many pagodas [they didn’t record] that are now coming to the surface. The quantity of pagodas has increased. The exact number of pagodas is not yet known,” he said.
Bagan boasts of at least 3,000 pagodas in a 42-square-kilometre area, according to the most recent records kept by the aforementioned department.—Myitmakha News Agency


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