Thursday, January 29, 2015

Revival Post Myanmar Still: Part II

Oh it's been almost half a year! And where have i been during those months! I didn't realize it's been that long, i've never visited this site since the Part I post for Myanmar. I feel owing a lot to you, or i shouldn't have put Part I on the last post. Now i am obliged to put Part II, otherwise that will be left hanging. OK i will try my best to recall those moments i am in Bagan, Myanmar! O hope my memory will still serve me well.

Our trip to Bagan took the whole night on a big airconditioned bus. There were 2 stops for the passengers:  to have dinner, and another one at dawn for another light meal. Of course i was so curious of so many things being in another country, with old traditions and culture. It was so cold inside the bus that a jacket and a scarf is a must for humans like us! We had to sleep somehow, i guess i got a total of at least 2 hours. It was not enough, but that has to be, there was no choice.

Our first pagoda or paya or temple is just in front of our hotel. Shwezigon Paya is a very important shrine because it served as a prototype for later stupas in the country, it also marked an important development of the relationship between traditional Burmese religion and Theravada Buddhism. In a complex of structures like these there are many smaller stupas around the biggest stupa.

The side buildings and alleys allow vendors selling lots of traditional wares for the tourists. They include scarves, hats, bags, lacquerware, mini stupas, fashion jewelries, and  a lot more.

 No two temples have the same sizes nor structural design. Every single temple is unique and has a character of its own. That is one of the wonders of these temples. And they are scattered through several hundred hectares of land as far as your eyes can see! The man you see above is wearing the traditional sarong for men. Many of them still wear that dress these days.

 At the left is the remains of an old stupa. It is not restored anymore to its original structure, but served as a lovely art object in this area of the temple grounds. At the right are dolls like puppets being sold to the tourists.

This is the view westward from the top of the temple where we expected to have the sunrise shot. Everybody hopes that the clouds will go away for awhile for the sun to peep through.

Do you see the cattle freely grazing on the ground? A very big white temple is visible at the top left portion of the photo above. This is the North view from the temple.

A lot of people braved climbing the slippery maybe >70° incline to reach the platform of the big stupa. Most are lugging a camera and a few more professional ones brought their big camera bags with accessories, including tripods. It really is difficult climbing that steeep stairs having a heavy bag. But at least railings are available to clasp on to! At the right is the top of the temple, arising from the ledge where people converge for the photoshoot.
In one of the mornings we were in Bagan, we didn't forego the possibility of the sunrise shot. We went to one big temple early, even earlier than most of the photographers. Again, a cloudy sky prevented a good sunrise shoot. But we nevertheless enjoyed the 360° view from the top, sunrise or not the views are superbly beautiful.

I am directing your attention to the topmost right portion on top of the mountain. There is also a very big white temple there. But we lack time going to that area.

This is the Oak Kyaung Gyi temple where we expected to have the sunrise shots. However, clouds didn't permit us to view the sun. We asked our taxi driver to bring us to one temple not very famous for the sunrise shot, so not many people come here that morning. The temple stairs are wide, but there are no rails to hold on to. We really had to be very careful in coming down, as it is very risky.

It seems easy to climb those stairs at this angle of view, but trus me, it was so difficult. The 3 tiers of stairs become more steep as you climb, and the witdh  of the steps also narrowed until the top tier. The incline also got steeper as you go higher. I cannot even look down as i might not be able to continue climbing. And returning down is also a struggle as we did it sideways. Huh!
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