Pagoda at Pagan [Mahabodhi Pagoda], Upper Burma
Photographer: Jackson, J.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Mahabodhi Pagoda at Pagan (Bagan), Burma (Myanmar) taken by J. Jackson in c.1868, part of an album of 43 views of Burma (Myanmar) from the Sladen Collection. The pagoda is a replica of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar State, India, built in 500 AD at the site where the Buddha is believed to have achieved enlightenment seated under a bodhi tree (a type of fig tree). Inscriptions record that King Kyansittha of Bagan (ruled 1084-1113) sent a mission to Bodh Gaya to repair the temple, and that bodhi trees were planted in Bagan from seeds brought from Bodh Gaya. The pagoda was by King Htilominlo (ruled 1211-1234?). It is not an exact copy of the original as its proportions and shape differ. It is a rare example of a quite different form distinct from the typical Burmese pagoda which is bell-shaped. It is one of more than two thousand surviving Buddhist monuments built by kings, nobles and monks as meritorious acts on the plain at Pagan on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) river in central Burma. The earliest structure dates from the late 9th century. Most date from Pagan’s golden era between the 11th and the 13th centuries when it was a royal city and the capital of an extensive Burmese kingdom.