History of Bagan
Bagan lies on a bend of the Ayeyarwaddy River and it is believed to have originated with King Anawrahta. Its long history can be traced back almost to the beginning of the Christian era. King Anawrahta ascended to the throne of Bagan in 1044 when Mahayana was the religion of the kingdom. Later, with the arrival of Shin Arahan to Bagan, they converted to Theravada Buddhism. It is believed that because of their deep faith in Buddhism and also because they were wealthy, every household was able to raise donations to pay for an enshrined Pagoda. The entire region of Bagan is covered by over 2000 Buddhist shrines, temples, pagodas and remains of royal palaces. The great Shwezigon was one of King Anawrahta’s donations during his time.
Mt. Popa is an extinct volcano that experts have estimated to have erupted over 320,000 years ago. Popular belief has people recognize it as an abode of many spiritual beings. Mt. Popa is to Myanmar people what Mt. Olympia is to the Greeks, where all kinds of mythological gods are believed to reside. The volcano is only a few hours’ drive from Bagan.
A daily “express” ferry service transports people from Mandalay down the Ayeyarwaddy River to Bagan and takes about 9 hours