In the ancient capitals of Sagaing and Inwa, spiritual enlightenment awaits.
25.01.2017 - 25.01.2017 31 °C
We docked in Sagaing this morning and it was truly a wonderful sight. Two bridges welcomed us and then rows and rows of pagodas and stupas, shining in the morning sun. This looks like quite a large town.
Sagaing is an important religious and monastic centre, with numerous Buddhist monasteries. The pagodas and monasteries crowd the numerous hills along the ridge running parallel to the river. The sentry pagoda, Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, is connected by a set of covered staircases that run up the 240m hill. Sagain is another of Myanmar's ancient capitals, famous for its many hundreds of white, silver and gold pagodas and monasteries that dot its hilly landscape.
We went ashore, boarded the bus and our first stop was a silversmith's shop. We went to the workshop out the back and watched them make some silver bowls and saw how they imprint the pattern on the silver, then back into the shop for a shopping opportunity. I thought I might find an icon here but not so. Some people bought things.
Next stop was a nunnery where we were handing out food to the nuns for their lunch. Originally we were going to share lunch with them, but Scenic couldn't be sure of the cleanliness of their cooking implements, so we just gave them food instead. More good karma. They chanted a nice tune as they filed by to receive their food. We then watched them recite some mantras before they ate.
Next we visited a monastery school for monks and lay people. It was Wednesday and for some reason they were having a holiday. We kicked the football with them and took photos. Check out the glasses on this little guy. They were just wire bent into the shape of glasses - no lenses!
This little kid was the youngest in the monastery. He was a bit of a monster and head butted us all in the backside, then wanted his photo taken, but wouldn't smile.
Kids are the same the world round and love watching cartoons.
The Ava Kingdom ruled upper Burma from 1364 to 1555. After lunch we used local horse carts to visit Ava/Inwa. Ava is an ancient imperial capital that was rebuilt numerous times. The capital city was abandoned after it was destroyed by a series of major earthquakes.
The bus took us to a smaller river and we boarded a taxi for the 10 minute ride to the other side. Then our horse carts were waiting for us and Mike and I shared one and off we went, first to see the mini Angkor Wat. It was a lot more comfortable for me sitting up front with the driver, than for Mike, squashed in the back with his long legs. The road was very bumpy and dusty and for the first time I used my face mask and was very glad to have it.
Before we started our journey on the horse carts, Mike asked a local girl selling jewellery, to take our photo. She did so willingly, then the big sell started. She was selling low grade jade necklaces. I felt really bad saying no, and as we took off in the horse cart, she followed along, peddaling furiously on her bicycle. When we stopped at mini Angkor Wat, I asked Susan to negotiate a price with her and then I bought a jade necklace (which I didn't really want) for $10. More good karma!
Our next stop was Yadana Hsemee Pagoda Complex. This is a very old pagoda in ruins and is very similiar to ones we have seen in Indonesia, especially its location - among the rice paddies. In one section, there was no roof any more, but huge columns.
Howard thought this looked like Phil!
Then we visited the teak pagoda that once belonged to the Royal Family. It was very dark inside - not good for photography and the floor was creaky.
Still more to see. This time the old Watch Tower or the Leaning Pagoda. It had been damaged in an earthquake and has quite a lean to it. Tourists have been allowed to climb it but the powers that be now consider it unsafe, so it is closed to climbers.
Back to the boat and it is almost sunset. It has been a long afternoon, but totally enjoyable. Everything is different. The setting sun makes for some good photos.
We are now crossing this bridge and it was the one that the British blew up the middle section when they were leaving Burma so the Japanese couldn't follow. They only destroyed a couple of the middle spans so when they returned to Burma, it was relatively easy to reconstruct.
An anxious Phil wondering where on earth we have been!
Starting to get a sore throat and by the time I left the dining room, it was on fire! Coco gave me some drink made of lime, ginger and honey to drink and it did help a bit but I was so full from dinner, I couldn't drink a lot of it. I had trouble going to sleep and had a dreadful night -awake most of the time, coughing, coughing, coughing.
Buddhist saying for the day - "As rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, do not burden your heart with judgements but rain your kindness equally on all"