Bagan is a plain that covers an area of about 16 squares milesalongside the Ayeyarwaddy’s east bank. The temples and Pagodas of Baganthat are now decaying were constructed mainly between the 11th and 13thcenturies A.D., which was during the time that Bagan was the Myanmardynasty seat. Local chronicles have carried tradition that says that 55kings ruled over the Bagan kingdom over twelve centuries.The Bagan temples are known as “gu” and were inspiration from theBuddhist rock caves. These were big multi-story buildings that thepeople could enter and were places where people went to worship, withthe interior having richly frescoed corridors and sacred images andshrines that would be worshiped. The temples are often massively builtoblong or square structures with terraces on the outside to representMount Meru, which was a symbolic home for the gods. The Bagan templeswould also be surrounded by a wall made to be thick so that it wouldseparate the sacred realm from the world outside.The pagodas of Bagan are funerary monuments that have acquired aBuddhism cosmic symbolism. The Bagan pagodas also contain relics thatare associated with Buddha. Some of the monuments were constructed inhonor of a notable person, being built to bring lasting memories forimportant families as well. These structures are built in the shape ofa bell that is set on an octagonal or square base, and they usuallystand to a tapering peak covered with jewels and metal, with a sacreddecoration shaped like a parasol (called “hti”) on the top.