Not far south of Old Bagan are two of the area’s most popular temples. Shwesandaw Paya, just south of Anawrahta Road, is particularly inundated with tour buses at sunset; the five-terraced temple has been over-restored but the views of surrounding temples from it are very good. The shape of the spire, tapering to a sharp point, was a prototype for many others in Bagan and elsewhere in the country.
About 500m east of Shwesandaw Paya is the huge Dhammayangyi, said to have been started by King Narathu in 1166 but left unfinished after he died four years later. He was renowned as a particularly cruel king and it is said that he had one of his wives – an Indian princess – executed, but paid for it when her father sent assassins to kill him. The interior decoration is minimal, and nobody really knows why (or when) the inner passageways were bricked up.