Beyond the Gate
The gate slowly creaked open, drawing faint echoes from dimly lit, ancient passageways. With every sense heightened, a shiver as the unknown beckoned me forward.
Only then, surrounded by an enduring stillness, I began to touch the very essence of a bygone age.
From the height of the Kingdom of Pagan between the 11th and 13th centuries, the remains of more than 2200 Buddhist temples still decorate the landscape in present day Bagan, Myanmar.
Although the guidebooks offer recommended itineraries, tourists oblige in their hundreds, if not thousands. During high season, some sites even overflow as throngs of camera-wielding visitors stream from a procession of coaches.
The best temples are not recommended.
Many of the smaller temples have gatekeepers — shack dwelling families appointed to hold the temples’ keys, and should tourists come by, permit entrance. Well preserved murals, spectacular panoramic views, and the better experiences are found here on those stones less trodden.