Ananda Pagoda is probably the finest, largest and best preserved of all the Bagan temples. Ananda Temple suffered considerable damage in the earthquakes in history. The Ananda, built by Kyansittha in 1090, is on a larger scale than the Pahtothamya and the Apeyadana temples, and is significantly different in form. The temple is said to represent the endless wisdom of the Buddha.
Symbolizing the limitless wisdom of Buddha, there is a month long sanctified festival for the temple Ananda, the most beautiful one out of 2000 holy monuments in Bagan, Myanmar. It usually falls on January every year. The busiest day of the festival is on the full-moon day of the lunar month. Villagers and pilgrims around Bagan roll in the sacred site of Ananda for the consecration.
This is also the best time to see not only the ritual of Buddhists, but the festival is also meant for social gathering, reunification, propagation and perpetuation of the religion that is Buddhism. During the festival, walk around in a sea of vendors and shops that sell traditional Myanmar food-stuff and enjoy the local atmosphere in locality.
The most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound, camp under the shady trees. As the dawn breaks on the full moon Day of Pyatho the pilgrims are up and ready with their donations. The monks make their way between the donors lined up on both sides and all reverently place their donations in the monk’s hands. This they do with boundless piety. It does not matter if one’s donation is expensive or cheap but the merit lies in the heart of the donor. If the heart is pure the amount of merit will be as big as a banyan tree despite the small quantity or value of the donations. But impure hearts will only get merit the size of a banyan seed regardless of the amount of the donation.
When all is finished the families get ready to return to their villages and to prepare the fields for next year’s harvest. The dust clouds kicked by their oxen billow above the convoy of carts as they head home, meandering amongst the ruins. And for sure all are determined that next year they will come again and support the Buddhist sasana as their King had commanded.