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Buphaya Pagoda

Buphaya (before earthquake)

Bagan's other riverside pagoda and a landmark for sailors is Buphaya Pagoda. It is about eigh kilometers (five miles) upstream from the Lawkananda and is just within the ancient city's northern limits. This fairy-tale pagoda sits on top of semi-circular terraces. The foundation wall rises sheer from the river's edge and is topped by a large and pleasing scallop design.

It is thought that the original pumpkin pagoda dated from the third century. What one sees today, however, is a recent reconstruction, the original stupa having tumbled into the river during the 1975 earthquake.

The best time to visit Buphaya is at sunset. Evening is also the time for collecting water, and from the pagoda one can watch as oxen drawing elegant carts proceed across the sandbanks and wade out into the stream, where their masters ladle water into large barrels.