Covid-19 unpacks Bagan city, temples

Pagodas, temples left empty in Bagan cultural heritage zone amid COVID-19.  (File Photo)
Pagodas, temples left empty in Bagan cultural heritage zone amid COVID-19.  (File Photo)

Bagan cultural heritage zone, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is now sitting eerily empty amid Covid-19 fears, according to the Shwezigon Pagoda Trustees Board.
Normally, a larger number of tourists have been entering Bagan to catch a glimpse of historical temples in the backdrop of breathtaking sunsets in the ancient city. Now, Covid-19 concerns leave Bagan empty, said a local.
The visitors are scarcely seen in the famous historical temples of Bagan city; Shwezigon Pagoda, Lawkananda Pagoda, Tuyintaung Pagoda, Tantkyitaung Pagoda, Htilominlo Temple, Ananda Pagoda, Bu Pagoda, Thatbyinnyu Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple, Sulamani Temple, Payathonezu Temple, Mahabodhi Temple, Sulamani Temple, Manuha Temple, Gawdawpalin Temple, Myazedi Temple, Nanpaya Temple, and other famous pagodas, according to the board.
NyaungU Committee on Prevention, Control, and Treatment of Covid-19 are strictly supervising the restaurants not to have seating customers. The pilgrimage is available only between 9 am to 4 pm and the pilgrims are registered on the data of the pagoda trustees’ board.
The Bagan heritage site rarely sees visitors. Only three cars entered the site on 30 March.
“This phenomenon is rare. The social distancing due to Covid-19 turns the packed ancient cultural site into a virtually abandoned town”, said Ko Nay Win Maung of Bagan.
The local tourism industry is hammered by Covid-19 and those engaged in local transportation rental business (three-wheel, boat, horse-riding, car, e-bike, cycle, motorcycle), hotels and guesthouses, restaurants and souvenir shops are suffering from the Covid-19 concerns.
Earlier, during the high season from November to April, Bagan is usually packed with local pilgrims and tourists. They used to visit Bagan to observe the temples and stupas and view the sunset. The horse-riding business, motorcycle and electric bike rental business, hotels, motels, and guesthouses were earning well in the high season, along with souvenir business. Those businesses created jobs for local residents.
The tourists like to enjoy Bagan’s sunset views. Most of them are Chinese, French, and German. The businesses relying on tourism are nearly closed amid Covid-19 negative impacts. —Than Htike / Ko Htein (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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