We were still docked in Mandalay in the morning, so I couldn’t get a nice sunrise picture. I did, however, get a picture of someone’s neatly arranged laundry…
A small shrine to Buddha on a nearby tree. Do you think the water bottle is an offering to Buddha or just litter?
I loved the early morning fog on the river…
Our destination this morning was the town of Sagaing. Just 13 miles southwest of Mandalay, the Sagaing Hill is literally dotted with Monasteries, Nunneries and Pagodas and is home to over 6,000 monks and 6,000 nuns.
The most prominent of these pagodas is the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda (built in 1312) which sits at top of Sagaing Hill looking out over the Irrawaddy.
Our welcoming committee…
The trucks were waiting to take us up to the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda at the top of Sagaing Hill.
Inside the pagoda, the Buddha sits in a turquoise glass mosaic room. In front of the Buddha was an impressive display of fruit, flowers and food presented by the devotees.
From the terrace around the pagoda, the views of the surrounding area were beautiful. This pagoda had a somewhat castle like appearance to it.
It’s amazing how intricate the details are on some of these pagodas.
It was very hazy that morning. We were told that it was harvest season, and the haze was in fact smoke from the burning of the “garbage” from the harvest.
The top of this temple is real gold, the bottom is gold paint. You can see the difference in the way it shines.
While most of the stupas we visited were bell-shaped, there are also some that are more of a dome-shape.
Nuns saying a morning prayer…
We found this interesting – the young monk’s two friends with their hair dyed to match the colours of his robes.
Another naga Buddha.
Big buses must not be allowed on the narrow road to the Pagoda. We boarded our taxi-trucks and drove down the hill, where we switched to a fancy new coach.
As we were driving to our next destination, we saw these colourfully decorated ox carts on the street; they were going somewhere…
The Kaungmudaw Pagoda, completed in 1648, has one of the few dome-shaped stupas.
The ice cream man. Even the cones are colourful in Myanmar!
The massive dome, once painted white to symbolize purity, has now been painted gold.
Another pagoda with the turquoise glass mosaic tiles. It’s hard to describe the effect created by all this glass and flashing neon lights.
Every pagoda has shops, this one was no different. What was different was that several of the shops here were selling Thanaka wood and grinding stones.
The next stop was the U Ba Mhin Daw Khin Lay & Son Silver Smith shop.
We were able to go in the back to watch the worker drawing the pattern on the silver with a pencil before etching it.
On the way back to the boat the coach ran into a traffic jam – it was a parade! Since we weren’t going anywhere they let us out to take some pictures.
When a young man under the age of 20 enters the monastery, they have a Novice Initiation Ceremony. The young men are dressed in silk and led on horseback to the monastery where their heads are shaved and they don their monastic robes. This is symbolic of Siddhartha leaving behind the luxuries of life in search of truth.
The novices are followed by family and friends, most of whom were also dressed in silk costumes.
The street was jammed with bystanders watching the spectacle – this is a big event for the Buddhist community.
We were so fortunate to have stumbled on to this, although the skeptic in me wonders if they didn’t search it out for us after seeing the decorated carts earlier that morning…
Back on board we set sail and settled in for another afternoon on the river.
The Inwa Bridge (in the background) was the first bridge across the Irrawaddy River. It has 2 traffic lanes with a railway track in the middle. Built by the British in 1934 by the 90’s it’s capacity was limited and the larger trucks had to cross the river by ferry. In 2008 the Yadanabon Bridge was built – with 4 lanes for traffic and 2 pedestrian lanes it has greatly improved the flow of traffic and goods crossing the river.
The Irrawaddy clay is rich in gold deposits. These are dredge boats looking for gold.
There is always someone out fishing on the Irrawaddy…
A herd of cattle rounded up and ready to go somewhere perhaps?
Just before the sun set for the day we docked at the village of Si Mee Khon.
We were once again given the opportunity to get off the boat and wander around, so we did. One of the crew came with us, carrying a big flashlight, so we didn’t get lost in the dark.
This particular town had several very large old colonial buildings…
A teak bridge…
It was getting dark so I had to resort to using my camera phone…
This group of kids was so fun – they followed us around and every time you tried to take a picture another one would run in.
And we made it safely back to the boat in time to catch the last bit of colour in the night sky.