Bagan is the city which there are various pagodas and numerous archaeology site because of the first kingdom in Burmese history and the city which Burmese government prepares urgently to nominate for the world heritage site. According to the proper quality, “Ananda Phaya” is one of those qualities. Due to the huge and the most beautiful religious site in Bagan, it is called “the precious diamond of Buddhist art in Bagan schools”.
Ananda Phaya is huge vihara or Buddhist monastery located in Bagan, Myanmar. It was built around 1190 by King Kyanzittha, the third king of Bagan dynasty. There is a legend saying that in the past, when Indian was invaded by Muslim people, there was a group of Indian monks immigrated to Bagan. Previously, the monks lived in Nandamula in the Himalayas. They described the beauty of the Nandamula temple till it was an inspiration for King Kyanzittha to build Buddhist monastery. Hence the Nandamula temple was used as the model and when finishing, it was named “Ananda Phaya” meaning that this vihara remains eternally with Bagan.
Ananda Phaya is so beautiful that it is well-known as the jewel of Bagan with the ability of Bugan schools in the past that is mixed with various arts harmonized delicately. However it got the influence from India. The vihara was constructed in square figure that each angle point out to 4 directions with each 175 feet in width and about 172 feet in height. Its Sikara-spired roof is raised step by step till in the middle and at the tip, there is the placed pagoda. When you look at over here, it looks like 2 tiers at the roof.
Ananda Phaya opens for tourists who can visit inside. Curved brick arch in western architecture decorated with unique outstanding Bagan art was built at the entrance. Inside vihara, 4 large standing carved Buddha images adorned with gold leaf face to 4 directions. The four Buddhist images, 9.5 metres in height, consist of the Buddha Kakusandha at North, the Buddha Konagamana at East, the Buddha Kassapa at South and Gautama at West according to Burmese belief that generally, there are 4 Buddha including present Buddha. Two of them located in North and South, are original and very ancient. The other two images are rebuilt because of fire.
Besides admiring and venerating the Buddha images inside the vihara, at the North entrance area, there are numerous native shops to sell local goods such as silverware, lacquer ware, basketwork and others for the tourists who are able to choose souvenirs.