Pictorial Guide to Pagan (Bagan)

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) — This guide was produced by the Burmese Ministry of Union Culture in 1963 and contains fascinating historical photographs as well as useful, unique information on the pagodas and temples of Bagan.

Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)

Myanmar / Burma Travel Update

Since I was there, the situation in Myanmar/Burma has changed a lot. In February 2021, a military coup sparked widespread civil unrest and armed conflict.

The U.S. State Department currently advises: "Do not travel to Burma due to civil unrest and armed conflict." You can find their full travel advisory and security alerts here. And you can find the British Foreign Office's travel advice for Myanmar / Burma here.

This is a guide to temples and pagodas of Bagan that was compiled by the Director of Archaeological Survey, Burma, in the mid-1950s and revised in 1963. It was published in Rangoon by the Union Cultural Council, Ministry of Union Culture, Revolutionary Government of the Union of Burma.

I picked up a copy some time ago. I’ve scanned it and am reproducing it here for a few reasons.1

Firstly, it’s well and truly out of print now and hard to find copies. So in posting it I hope someone finds it of use.

Secondly, while some of the information is now outdated, it’s still rich with unique information. There are newer, better guides now available (see below), but they don’t always cover everything in this one.

And thirdly, the photos, of which there are many, are fascinating historical records of how the monuments looked over half a century ago before waves of renovations and upgrades were performed and before modern tourism moved in. You can see how the Dhammayazika Pagoda looked before it was given a facelift and gleaming gold stupa, for example (see p.60 below).

There are also some very interesting maps and diagrams.

Map

The booklet includes a large fold-out map. Click on the image for a larger version:

PDF Version

I’m posting it here in two formats–feel free to use whichever you prefer. First, here’s the PDF version:


Pictorial Guide to Pagan

JPG Version

And here are the individual pages as JPGs:

Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)
Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)

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  1. To the best of my knowledge, The Pictorial Guide to Pagan isn’t (or, at the least, is no longer) protected under U.S. Copyright. I’m including it here for educational purposes. []
David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »