Myitmakha News Agency
Bagan, August 29 – despite recent earthquake induced destruction to some of Bagan’s most prominent ancient pagodas, it has reportedly not been substantial enough to affect numbers of visiting local and foreign tourists, the Bagan Tour Guide Association (BTGA) told Myitmakha News Agency.
“Bagan has been effectively closed off for the time being due the extent of damage the earthquake has inflicted. It won’t negatively affect the numbers of foreign travelers, though. The pagodas will be reopen, so the current situation won’t result in a slump in visitors,” said U Myint Kyaw Thu, chair of the BTGA.
A total of 185 pagodas were damaged when an earthquake struck the country at 5:05pm Myanmar Standard Time (MMT), while according to the BTGA, police and army units have since been stationed around pagodas to provide security and prevent anyone from entering inside.
“Nobody has been allowed back inside [the pagodas] yet. As well as fallen rubble not having yet been cleared, cracked walls present a real danger of collapse. As such, police and armed forces have been placed to provide security and protect people from such dangers. It’s something local residents and international pilgrimage markers both understand,” said U Khin Maung, chair of the Bagan Development Association.
Security forces are reportedly also carrying out efforts to find ancient relics of the pagodas dislodged by the quake, and prevent the further collapse of the unsteady pagodas.
“I doubt visitor numbers [to Bagan] will be negatively impacted upon come the forthcoming tourist season as the earthquake shook the region now, during a time when people are making religious pilgrimages. Rather a great deal of famous ancient pagodas have been destroyed by the earthquake,” said Ko Aung Kyaw, a resident of Bagan.
As well as causing damage to some of Bagan’s most iconic pagodas – such as Htilominlo, Thatbyinnyu and Lawkanada – the reverberations of the earthquake reportedly also flattened some homes of local residents in the region as well.