Monday, 28 July 2014

Yangon trip – 28 Jul 14

When Win picked us from the hotel at 6.30am, the sun has already risen. We went to this temple - Pyat Thut which Win has recommended for sunrise. This temple has a flat terrace which is unlike the other temples which we have visited. We are able to enjoy moment of our own as there are no tourists here.

Pyat Thut
Narrow and low staircase
Temple at the uppermost level
Sunrise view
Bagan temple

We return to the hotel and had our breakfast. Breakfast is available from 6.30am - 9.30am and the breakfast spread is consider good for a hotel of such scale in Myanmar.
Breakfast spread
A variety of spread

Win reached the hotel an hour later and we started our temple visit for the day at Shwezigon. This pagoda is the first and prototype monument of all Myanmar zedi including the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.
Shwezigon Paya
Water reflection of Shwezigon Paya
Temple in the compound
Gold plated alms bowls
Buying longyi from a vendor

Htilominlo means favored by the king and the white umbrella. Legend has it that King Narapati Sithu had five sons. He had to appoint one of them to be the Crown Prince. He had in mind Zeya Theinkha to succeed him. but to be fair, he let the white umbrella which was one of the royal regalia to choose the deserving son. He placed the white umbrella in the center of the sons who were ranged around it. He prayed "May the white umbrella incline towards the son who deserves to be Crown Prince." The white umbrella inclined towards Zeya Theinkha. When Zeya Theinkha became king he built this temple on the site of the white umbrella that inclined toward him.

Htilominlo is one of the biggest temple in Bagan with the center spire reaches a height of 46m. Although it is a three storey building, only the access to the ground level is open to public. 
Stone carving
Woods on the metal door
Horse carriage
Three identical temples

At first glance, Upali Thein resemble a chapel from outside. Upali Thein is an ordination hall which has beautiful murals inside. The gate to the interior was locked when we visited. 
Upali Thein

Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery was built in the 18th century and is the oldest teak building is Myanmar. When we first alighted from the car, I thought that I have been teleported to Bali. Ain't the building resemble a typical Balinese temple?
Nat Taung Kyaung
Wooden roof carving

We continued to Bupaya Stupa which is situated at the bank of the Irrawaddy River. The existing stupa was built in 1976 to replace the original stupa which was destroyed by the earthquake in 1975.
2 Chinthe at the entrance
Irrawaddy river

Mahabodi is a temple dedicated to Hinduism and is unique to other Bagan temples which are dedicated to Buddhism. This temple was built by King Zeya Thein Kha who also built Htilominlo.
Maha Bodhi Phaya

We met a lady who thought that Luxiang is a Burmese and offer to help us to put the thanaka powder on our face. All of us decided to try it for fun. Almost every lady in Myanmar put on the thanaka on their face, I have even seen guys putting it on their face too. Thanaka gives a cooling sensation and provides protection from sunburn. It is believed to help remove acne and promote smooth skin
Grinding the thanaka

Gawdaw Palin is the 2nd tallest temple in Bagan. This temple was built by King Narapati-sithu to commemorate the ceremony of paying homage to the manes ancestors. Legend has it that this king had committed a sin against his ancestors by thinking that they were not as great as him. As a punishment for his sin, his eyes turned blind. At the advice of the Brahmen astrologers at the court, king made idols of his ancestors and placed them on the thrones. The King worshipped them asking forgiveness for his sin and he regained his sight. On the place where this ceremony took place, Gawdaw Palin Pagoda was built. The name Gawdaw Palin literally means "the throne which was worshipped. “
Gawdaw Palin
A Myanmarese style temple

Nat Hlaung Kyaung is the last remaining Hindu temple in Bagan. This temple is dedicated to Vishnu. Originally, the temple contained statues of the 10 Avatars of Vishnu, including Gautama Buddha but only 7 remains today.

There are few Burmese ladies outside the temple and they followed us into the temple. Then they started to talk non stop by explain the statues and asking us to take photos of the outside scenery. In the end, they asked us to buy their souvenirs or tips.
Nat Hlaung Kyaung
Hindu gods
Crack line due to the damaged of earthquake
View of That Byin Nyu

Thatbyinnyu is the tallest temple in Bagan measuring 66m. Thatbyinnyu means Omniscience which the Lord Buddha attained on becoming enlightened. However we could not access to the upper levels as it is closed to the public.
That Byin Nyu
Photos of That Byin Nyu
Locked staircase

Shwegu Gyi is located north of That Byin Nyu. This temple offers a great view of the surrounding temple from it's terrace.
Shwegu Gyi Phaya
Nan Taw Yar (Bagan Golden Palace)
Bagan Archaeological Museum & Gawdaw Palin
That Byin Nyu
Ananda in the background
Excavated mound "Aung Mye Kon"
Special path for the wooden door

Tharabar gate is the only surviving gate of the 12 gates of the walled city. In front of the Gate are two massive shrines containing images of the Mahagiri ("Great Mountain") nats, the brother Maung Tinde on the left, the sister Thonbanhla on the right. 

According to tradition, Maung Tinde was a blacksmith of great strength living in the country of Tagaung who had prayed, "May I be a spirit whom kings shall worship!" So great was Maung Tinde's strength that the King feared for his throne and sent men to kill him. But Maung Tinde escaped and went away deep into the forest. The King thereupon made the younger sister of Maung Tinde his wife and asked her to call upon her brother to return so that he could be given office. However, on his return to the city, Maung Tinde was seized, tied to a tree and burned. His sister, too, jumped into the burning flames and died together with him. The spirits of the brother and the sister continued to dwell in the tree and the tree troubled everyone who went near it. The tree was dug up by the roots and floated down the Ayeyarwady river. The tree eventually reached Bagan, and the images of the brother and sister were carved and kept on Mount Popa. Every year, in the month of Nadaw (November-December), the kings of Bagan ascended Mount Popa to worship the Mahagiri spirits.
Tharabar gate

We ended the temple hopping at 10am and return to the hotel. After that we walked to Weatherspoon for lunch. The cafe was full and we waited for almost an hour before the food was served. The dishes which we ordered today was not as tasty as those we ordered yesterday. 
Lunch @ Weatherspoon
Electric bike

We idled at the hotel lobby until 4.30pm when Win send us to the airport. We were extremely relief to reach the air-conditioned airport which provide some respite from the hot weather in Bagan.

We were given a boarding pass without seat numbers as it's free seating in the plane.
Check in counter
Boarding pass without seat number
Small airport

We didn't waited at the departure hall for long before the airline staff asked us to proceed to the security custom. The flight was early so we board the plane after sitting for a while inside the boarding gate area.
Departure gate waiting area

As usual, snack and refreshment are served onboard. We had an uneventful flight and reached Yangon 1hr later.
Snack on board

There is a taxi counter at the domestic arrival hall and we paid K9,000 ~ S$12 to the hostel. Initially we thought that the person pulling our luggage is the taxi driver and when board the taxi, he asked us for tips so we ended up paying him K1,000 ~ S$1.20. 

We had dinner at the shop opposite the hostel before resting for the day.
Mee goreng

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