Shwesandaw Pagoda

Type of monument : Type II Pagoda (Zedi)
Location : north-east of Old Bagan
Region : Old Bagan
Built by : King Anawrahta
Date : A.D 1057
Monument Number : 1568

Shwesandaw Pagoda was the first pagoda in Bagan to feature stairwells that lead up to the base of the pagoda from the bottom. As such, it is a good spot to watch the sun set and is even occasionally referred to as the 'sunset pagoda'. I arrived there at 15:15 and found the pagoda to be completely deserted. I climbed the narrow stairwell, some stairs being twice as high as they are deep - definitely not for those who are acrophobic, and found the entire periphery of the round base of the pagoda to be an excellent viewpoint of the vast fields of pagodas stretching out into the distance.

After a while, the blistering sun proved to be too much in such an exposed spot so after walking around the entire periphery once again, I made my way back down and started to cycle to Todhammayangyi. Along the way, I came upon a pleasant bamboo platform that was in the shade of the canopy of a large tree. The heat and the weary state that I was in made it far too enticing to pass up.

I woke up to the cry of a flock of crows (Corvus sp.) that had gathered in the tree above me and were looking down at me with fascination. Still bleary-eyed, the sun ducked behind the clouds and a gust of wind whistled through carrying away any remnants of sleep that still lingered. Approximately an hour had passed, but that one hour had made a huge difference in the intensity of the sun. Feeling a little refreshed, I decided then to head back to Shwesandaw Pagoda and to set up my camera for a sunset timelapse before the bus-loads of crowds began to arrive. I realised soon after that this was a good move as the entire platform had been overrun by people by 17:30!

Next : Bagan (Part 6)