Ananda Temple is one of the largest and most well kept Buddhist constructions of Bagan in particular and Myanmar in general. It is broadly known as a genuine stone museum among the country.
The temple was constructed in 1090 by King Kyanzittha who ruled the Pagan Kingdom and became one of his renowned masterpieces. Its design isin the shape of a cruciform, with multiple terraces leading to a small pagoda topped by an umbrella called hti. This ornament can be easily found in nearly all Buddhist edifices of Myanmar.
Ananda Temple is home to four Buddha standing statues. Each of them faces one of the four cardinal directions (East, West, South and North), representing Buddha’s infinite wisdom. In addition, there are eighty frescoes which depict the early stages in Buddha’s life, from the moment when he was born to when he entered Enlightenment.
Like many other Bagan pagodas, Ananda Temple was cracked by the 1975 earthquake. Luckily, the temple was fully recovered then and has maintained frequent wall whitewashing and painting until today. In the year of 1990, Ananda’s spires were gold gilded to celebrate its 900th anniversary.