Name: Shwesandaw Pagoda
Built by: King Anawrahta
Built in: AD 1057
Style: Early period
Location: At Old Bagan
Monument Number: No. 1568
King Anawrahta built Shwesandaw Pagoda after his conquest of Thaton in 1057. This graceful circular pagoda was constructed at the centre of his newly empowered kingdom. The pagoda was also known as Ganesh or Mahapeine after the elephant-headed Hindu god whose images once stood at the corners of the five successive terraces.
The five terraces once bore terracotta plaques showing scenes from the jalakas, but traces of these, and of other sculptures, were covered by lather heavy-handed renovations. The pagoda’s bell rises from two octagonal bases which top the five square terraces. This was the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the pagoda itself.
This pagoda supposedly enshrines a Buddha hair relic brought back from Thaton. The hti, which was toppled by the earthquake, can still be seen lying on the far side of the pagoda compound. A new one was fitted soon after tie quake. Before when people were allowed to climb up the terrace of the pagoda, it was a great spot to view the sunset of Bagan. But nowadays, to keep the ancient monuments in good shape, the stairways have been closed down.