One of the few monuments that the Bagan authorities allow visitors to climb is the Shwesandaw Pagoda, a 10minute ride by horse cart to the northeast. Built by King Anawrahta in 1057, the enor- mous zedi was one of four that Bagan’s founding father constructed outside the city walls to provide cosmic protection for the capi tal (Shwezigon was another). The pagoda comprises five square terraces topped by a cylindrical stupa with a recently added hti, or finial. The old one toppled in an earthquake in 1975 and still lies where it landed, crumbling in the dusty compound below.
A hair relic of the Buddha that the king of Bago presented to Anawrahta for his help in repel- ling a Khmer invasion of the Mon kingdom is believed to be secreted inside the stupa. Flights of steep steps ascend the whitewashed mon ument on four sides, leading to a spacious terrace at the base of the stupa. The panoramic views from here over the arche ol- ogical zone are magnif icent, although at sunset, when a Mingalazedi Pagoda, the last of the great stupas built at Bagan souvenir bazaar springs up in the enclosure below, the crowds and noise of camera shutters can be oppressive.
Housed in a long, rectangular, redbrick chamber on the west side of the Shwesandaw com- pound is a serene Buddha known as Shinbinthalyaung. Measuring 60 ft (18 m) from head to toe, the reclining figure was installed during roughly the same period as the nearby stupa. Broken traces of original frescoes adorn the plaster walls of the temple.
A twominute walk north of the Shwesandaw Pagoda, the littlevisited Lawkahteikpan Temple is a beautifully propor- tioned structure dating from the reign of Kyanzittha’s successor, Alaungsithu (1089–1168). Inside, the walls and ceilings above the gilded, seated Buddha are decorated with wellpreserved and intricate mid12thcentury frescoes. They require a flash- light to be viewed as there is no lighting in the building.