Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 4, 2012


Early this morning, we picked up our breakfast boxes at the hotel desk, and left for the airport for our 8:30 a.m., Air Bagan flight to Bagan, a former capital city.

Mr. Win, our local guide, took us directly to the Hotel At Tharbar Gate, where we were to stay for two night. It is a bungalow-type hotel, right in the Bagan Archaeological Zone.

Heart of the Bamar culture, this Bagan Archaeological Zone is home to over 4000 pagodas, a testimony to glories of the past as well as devotion, pride, and resilience of the Burmese people, in spite of their persistent poverty.

Most of the monuments were built during the area’s hey-days, which lasted for over 2-1/2 centuries, from 1047 to 1287 when Kublai Khan’s soldiers threatened it. What is visible here now is that has survived through the 700 years of chaos and decay that followed. And one has to traverse rutted, unpaved roads in this vast dusty complex to access various monuments.

Mr. Win firs took us to the local vegetable market, to witness local people engaged in brisk commercial activity. A variety of vegetables and fruit - some familiar, and some unknown to us – were being sold and bought, in rustic shops and vending spots.

Sprinkled among them were a few grocery shops, as well as food stalls.
Also on sale were sugarcane pieces, and...

...the wood-paste, which women apply on their cheeks to protect them form sunburn.

Shwezigon Paya, an important historical landmark, was our next destination.

This 11th century stupa served as the model for others built after it throughout Myanmar. Also Shwezigon Paya represented formal integration of the traditional nat- (spirit) based Burmese religion with Theravada Buddhism, as besides Buddha images, 37 nat-figures were placed here.

Built of sandstone blocks, it was later covered with copper plates, and in 1980’s the entire structure was gilded.

At each of the four cardinal points there is an 11-foot standing Buddha idol, with its right hand
displaying the abhaya (fear not) Mudra (gesture).

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