The previous post was about the views of Bagan plain. This is going to focus on the detail of the individual temples. I really liked this Buddha from inside one of the Bagan temples. I also like the halo effect the low light forced onto the picture. Simple serenity.
Obviously, this (Anada Pahto) was one of the grander temples. It was proper packed inside with hordes either gawping at, or trying to pray to a huge, plastic looking gold Buddha. However, a few steps away there was peace to explore a lovely temple. The outside was stunning. As you can see, we timed our visit to coincide with the sunset so we got the light glinting off the golden stupa. This is one that they are in the middle of restoring and the difference as the grime from, I don't know how many years, is washed away. Will look even better when they're done.
This was yet another stunning place in Burma. The views were amazing and then you get up close and the detail was also amazing. It is by far and away the most touristy of all of the places we went to in Burma, but it was still not too bad. However, you still get a sense of peace and tranquillity away from the biggest sites, the entrances to which can be quite rammed.
Our second full day at Inle Lake saw us take a boat towards the northern end of the Lake. One of the early stops was to see hand made paper production. Far more interesting were the Padaung Ladies.
Over time more and more rings are added to their necks, this stretches the neck to a point where the rings cannot be removed without the neck snapping.
Outside on the canal was a complete tourist trap, with people selling stuff from small boats.
Inle Lake is a huge lake on a glacial plane. We had a cracking couple of days there. This post is just going to focus upon the people who work on the lake and the views around it. What they call a photo essay.
There are lots of people paddling to and from their fishing grounds in these tiny and flimsy boats.
My advice for the markets is to get there early. We arrived before most and enjoyed being able to wander around without being bumped and jostled about.
My experience of markets in Asia has been mixed; some are very relaxed and don't put any pressure on you to buy, whilst others hassle and follow you (which generally annoys the life out of me to the point that I leave having not bought anything!).
This market fell into the relaxed category - thankfully. The stallholders were lovely and understood that 'just looking' meant just that.
Having left the market as all of the crowds were pulling in, our guide took us to various workshops where craftsmen and women made goods for everyday use and for shipping around the country. The first place he took us to was where the women wove silks and cottons. They also extracted thread from the lotus plant to make stronger, more expensive garments. Across the water from their workshop was a farm of lotus plants.
After visiting a couple of other workshops, we headed back to our hotel. I love being out on the water; it's such a relaxing thing to be doing.
If you find yourself in Inle Lake, then book yourself a boat and get out and about!
The last blog entry left us heading for the station to get the overnight sleeper to Mandalay. It was an experience! A good one, but an experience none-the-less. The Man in seat 61 was right, the tickets were a doddle to buy and dirt cheap.... Less than 50 quid for the 4 of us to get a first class sleeper cabin (all to ourselves) for a 15 hour journey. Bargain!
He was also right in that a guy came round selling food for dinner (and breakfast) and (fairly) cold beer. In addition, at every station there was the opportunity to buy all manner of food through the window from sellers on the platform. The ride was not, to say the least, the smoothest though. We bumped around to such an extent that some of the jolts physically lifted me off my bunk into the air. I would have to say I didn't get much sleep on the sleeper, but still thoroughly enjoyed it and we saw plenty of rural Burma as we chuffed through it. Finally, no security checks, no turning up three hours early, no long journey out of town to an airport, plenty of leg room and the chance to get up and stretch those legs whenever we wanted... All-in-all a far better alternative to flying!
It's a strange thing, but I was not overly impressed with Mandalay yet I think we will be back there anyway. The city itself is just a fairly big South East Asian city you could just as easily be somewhere in Indonesia or Malaysia for example. However, there's lots of really lovely stuff to see outside the city. My advice would be go, but book a driver to take you out and about.
One of the best sights in the city itself is Shwe In Bin Kyuang, a beautiful teak monastery, a lovely quiet spot surrounded by trees that largely block out the noise of the city. The temple was commissioned by a couple of wealthy Chinese jade merchants.
As you can see it is covered in the most intricate carving.
One of the things that has confused me about many Buddhist shrines in Asia is that Buddhism involves meditation and quiet contemplation of the world and yet many temples have loud, discordant music blaring out. This was no exception. It was loud to the point of being painful.
Rangoon is many people's (including ours) first stop in Myanmar and the highlight of the city is the Shwedegon Paya which dates from around the 6th Century but has been rebuilt many times due to earthquakes. Also, and I love this story, supposedly a Queen in 15th Century donated her own body weight in gold, which was beaten into gold leaf and used to cover the Stupa.
This is a huge Buddhist temple. It is so important to the Burmese that whenever it hoves into view when you are in taxi, the driver, whilst still driving, performs a wei to it. This involves taking both hands off the wheel and bowing his head so he can't really see where we're going and it is a little disconcerting, to say the least.
For once we had planned ahead and timed our visit for sunset so we could experience the sunlight glinting off the massive golden Stupa at the centre of the complex. Obviously, though it was under repair while we were there so was covered in coconut matting and bamboo scaffolding... No gorgeous sunset pics... However, still stunning.
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.