THE TEMPLES OF BAGAN, MYANMAR
Photograph by CYNTHIA DIAL
Known for its thousands of temples in a 26-square-mile (67 sq km) space within a dusty, flat plain, the best times to experience the serenity and scope of Bagan are at dawn and dusk.
After the earthquake in 1975, there are only 2,217 pagodas left in Bagan, in contrast to more than 5,000 during height of the political centre. Thus in order to preserve the original pagodas, only horse-driven carriage are allowed to travel among the pagodas.
Although an application was submitted, UNESCO does not designate Bagan as a World Heritage Site. The main reason given is that the military junta (SPDC) has haphazardly restored ancient stupas, temples and buildings, ignoring original architectural styles and using modern materials which bear little or no resemblance to the original designs. The junta has also established a golf course, a paved highway, and built a 200-foot (61 meter) watchtower in the southeastern suburb of Minnanthu. [Source: Wikipedia]