Bagan really took my breath away. It was picturesque, sunrise and sunset had such a calming quality but more than anything, I found the damage and repair work still remaining on the pagoda's from the August 2016 earthquake somehow, beautiful.
Bagan was hit with a powerful earthquake in August 2016, damaging more than 400 Pagoda's. This was a devastating blow to the area, however the Pagoda's are viewed by the Buddhist people as living monuments. They're renovated and rebuilt throughout history, some of which has been questioned and is one of the reasons Bagan hasn't yet been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
It may be strange to look at such damage as a sort of beauty, but the scale of some of the pagoda's and their repair work very quickly reminded us just how small we were, with the bamboo scaffolding and Pagoda spires towering over us.
Surprisingly, there was a peacefulness surrounding the damaged pagoda's. Only a few were being worked on at a time leaving so many others to be explored, even if we could only access the exterior. I'm not sure if a lot of visitors and tourists were turned off from visiting Pagoda's they couldn't enter or climb let alone take unobstructed photos, but it did feel serenely calm at these smaller damaged Pagoda's.
I'm grateful we were able to explore parts of Bagan on our own, away from all others visiting. It created such a beautiful setting, earthquake damage, repair and all. It was also a good reminder that Mother Nature is in charge, and it certainly doesn't take much to bring stunning historical monuments down.