The legend says. the third king of Bagan. Pyusawhti (AD 162-243). got rid of the gourd-like climbing plant "bu" that infested the riverbanks. before becoming the king. He was rewarded by his predecessor. Thamuddarit. the founder of Bagan (AD 108) together with the hand of his daughter and the heir to the throne of Bagan. He then in the commemoration of his good luck built a gourd-shaped pagoda on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River.
The Mahazedi means the Great Stupa. It is one of the revered pagodas in Bago. The Pagoda was built by King Bayinnaung in 1560 A.D. It is known that the pagoda enshrines a tooth-relic brought from Sri Lanka. Although the relic later turned out to be a fake with the real tooth relic of Kandy still in Sri Lanka, the relic was enshrined in the pagoda in 1576. In the early 17th century the tooth was moved to the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda in Sagaing, where it remains to the current day. The Mahazedi pagoda was destroyed in 1757 during the Mon revolt against the Burmese, who subsequently destroyed most of Bago. The Mahazedi was rebuilt and largely destroyed again in the 1930 earthquake. It took until the early 1980’s until the restoration was completed.
Shwezigon was built as the most important reliquary shrine in Bagan, a centre of prayer and reflection for the new Theravada faith King Anawarahta had established in Bagan. The other three are enshrined in Lawkananda, another one in Tankyi Taung Pagoda and the last one in Tuyin Taung Pagoda. There is a local saying that if one person visits and pay homage to all these four pagodas in one day, the person will gain prosperity and fulfilment.
Shwegugyi Pagoda was built by King Alaung Sithu during A.D 1141. This pagoda is located near the entrance of the Royal Palace therefore also known as Nan Oo Paya in Myanmar. Shwegugyi Pagoda was built on top of a 13 feet high platform giving it an impression like a mushroom coming out of the ground. It is facing towards the north of Bagan. It lies on the north of Thabyinnyu Pagoda. Based on chronicles, there was also a saying that King Alaungsithu died at this place. When King Alaungsithu became old and suffered illness, his son removed him from the palace to this temple and left him to suffer. But Alaungsithu became conscious enough to ask where he was, but unfortunately his son came to kill him.
Sulamani was built in 1181 by Narapatisithu (1174-1211). This temple was known as "crowing jewel" and it stands beyond Dhammayangyi Pagoda. This temple is a more sophisticated temple than the Htilominlo and Gawdawpalin. Carved stucco on mouldings, pediments and pilasters represents some of Bagan's finest ornamental work and is in fairly good condition. Glazed plaques around the base and terraces are also still visible. Buddha images face the four directions from the ground floor; the image at the main eastern entrance sits in a recess built into the wall.
The Gawdawpalin Temple was built by King Narapatisithu after building the Sulamani Temple. The Gawdawpalin is a large two storey temple built in the style of the late Bagan period. It resembles the Thatbyinnyu temple, that was built half a century earlier in the year 1144. The structure is set on a low platform. The lower cube is surrounded by a corridor that contains a seated Buddha image on a pedestal on each of the four sides. The massive lower floor is topped by three receding terraces.
Hti Lo Min Lo Pagoda
Situated close to the road between Nyaung U and Bagan, and about 1.5 km northeast of Bagan. This large temple was built by King Nantaungmya in 1218. The temple is known to be the last Myanmar Style temple built in Bagan. The temple is three stories tall, with a height of 46 metres (150 feet), and built with red brick. It is also known for its elaborate plaster moldings.
Ananda temple is considered to be one of the most surviving masterpiece of the Mon architecture. Also known as the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. During the 1975 earthquake, Ananda suffered considerable damage but has been totally restored. The wood carvings and figures on the door frame and at the top of the door leaves are later additionally sculptured by King Bayinnaung. Ananda temple festival falls on the full moon of Pyatho (usually between December and January, according to the Lunar Calendar).