Pagodas Damaged in Myanmar’s Temple City

By The Irrawaddy 20 October 2021

Fourteen pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar’s temple city, have been damaged by heavy rain, according to the Bagan branch of the Department of Archaeology and the National Museum.

“Fourteen temples have sustained damage due to heavy rain over the course of two days. But the damage is minor,” Dr. Than Htike, the director of the department, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

Among the pagodas damaged are Saytanargyi Temple, Pyathatgyi Temple, Soe Min Gyi Temple and a number of smaller temples.

“Mostly, canopies and parts of walls collapsed. We are preparing to clear the debris and carry out maintenance work,” he added.

This year, Bagan has received heavier rainfall compared to previous years and it is still raining, even though the annual monsoon is normally over by mid-October, said a Bagan resident.

“Over 50 pagodas have sustained damage during this rainy season due to heavy rain. Our maintenance work has been hampered by the rainfall and we have only repaired seven or eight pagodas so far. We will resume the work when the rainy season is over,” said Dr. Than Htike.

Heavy rain in September led to parts of Bagan flooding, with rainwater engulfing some temples, an unprecedented event in Bagan where the rainfall is normally low. The unusually heavy rain has prompted concerns about the risk of damage from damp penetrating into temples.

Bagan was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in July 2019. The city is home to over 3,000 temples dating from the ninth to the 13th centuries, spanning the rule of some 50 Bagan Dynasty kings.

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