Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Intriguing Myanmar!

Part I-Yangon

My First Day to the intriguing Myanmar is in Yangon, the capital city! Serendipitously or maybe unfortunately or both, it fell on the full moon, which they call Full Moon Day of Warso. It is one of the 7 sacred days for Teravada Buddhism or Orthodox Buddhism that dominates Myanmar (Ref: http://www.myanmars.net/myanmar-culture/myanmar-buddhism.htm). So we went to the most famous landmark in Myanmar, the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is said to be 2,500 years old, renovated many times and known to enshrine the 8 strands of hair from Gautama Buddha. We came in via the west gate because our taxi cannot maneuver anymore through the traffic. We better walk or loose precious hours in waiting for cars to clear. We went early anticipating many people going there, but lo and behold every Burmese, young and old are there!!! Oh My God, it is very difficult to maneuver ourselves through the high stairs. At least there is a divider at the stairs for the traffic flow.

We already know that shoes or slippers are removed before entering temples, yet we thought in these multitude of people it might not be very strict this time. Children outside the entrance are selling plastic bags for easily lugging the shoes with you through the temple complex. It is amazing how a monk giving some flyers noticed i didn't remove my socks, although i am holding my shoes. He said "REMOVE SOCKS", which i hurriedly complied with embarrassment.

West Entrance guarded by two mythical lion-dragons

The west entrance is the only entrance without vendors and provided with scalators to the platform.

a reclining Buddha in one of the side temples

 I wasn't able to take photos while on the stairs to the complex, it is impossible, the only area free of other people is the place you are standing on.

the main and biggest stupa of the Shwedagon Paya

Shwedagon Pagoda stands on a platform of over 5 hectares on a hill 58 meters above sea level. There are many stupas but this main stupa is totally solid, covered with gold and the top is studded with diamonds. Those structures covered with cloth are under renovation. At the very top of the spire is the diamond orb, that is a hollow gold sphere studded with 4351 diamonds totalling 1800 carats. At the topmost is a single 76 carat diamond. 

 It is also difficult to have a self souvenir photo, as before you can click, someone will already pass between you and the photographer. Getting persons photos is a big challenge, so we better take the stupas shots!

 I forgot to say that it is raining periodically, so the floor is wet and a bit muddy. We were in pants so it is easy to walk, i am amazed at the traditional Burmese women's dresses, as some are very body fitting with narrow skirts. I guess it is difficult to walk in them. What with the men wearing sarong, which are long skirts too! Being unaccustomed wearing these outfits, i imagine its difficulty.


One of the many structures of Buddha at Shwedagon Paya

 The South Entrance is a short distance from the main street, the stairs are full of vendors and all types of things from flowers, to gemstones to paintings, etc, etc. The lady seller courteously obliged to pose for our souvenir shot, she is wearing a conventional Burmese dress.

  ...souvenir items of all sizes and materials

Schwedagon Pagoda viewed from the 21st floor of a nearby hotel, at the Sky Bistro. We went there not only for lunch but for the view. 

I searched for the synonym of the word intriguing and the first link says the following, all of them are true! 

Synonyms: absorbing, arresting, consuming, engaging, engrossing, enthralling, fascinating, gripping, immersing, intriguing, involving, riveting

Related Words: breathtaking, electric, electrifying, exciting, exhilarating, galvanizing, inspiring, rousing, stimulating, stirring, thrilling; provocative, tantalizing; emphatic, showy, splashy, striking; alluring, attractive, bewitching, captivating, charming, enchanting, spellbinding; hypnotizing, mesmerizing; curious, odd, unusual, weird; amazing, astonishing, astounding, eventful, eye-opening, fabulous, marvelous (or marvellous), surprising, wonderful, wondrous; amusing, entertaining


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