L and I were having a late lunch in one of the vegetarian restaurants in Bagan and we were planning where to go to watch the sunset in the evening.
I asked the waiter who took our order, “Do you know where is the best pagoda to watch sunset in Bagan?”
He said, “Ohh, tourists usually go to Shwesandaw Pagoda.” He thought for a while before he leaned across and pointed excitedly at our map and exclaimed, “But my favourite pagodas for the sunset are these two. It is very quiet and it has a very good view because it’s very high.”
To the locals, the pagodas in Bagan are more than mere tourist attractions. The pagodas are significant to them as these ancient places of worship represent a strong, timeless connection between the people and their land. It’s really heartbreaking to see the extent of damage to the temples. Save Bagan, save the people of Bagan.