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Published: March 3rd 2016
She San Daw Pagoda
Supposed to contain some sacred hairs from the Buddha. Unfortunately, stairway to second level roped off.
Met a group of school children here. Many had Canada flag stickers on their cheeks. There is another Canadian running loose in this temple.
Asarranged, Mr.Noproblemwaswaitingformeoutsidethehotelattheappointedhour. Offwewentalong a divided highway toll road until we turned off and headed into the hinterland. We traveled across a vast prairie through small provincial towns. Oxen power and horse-drawn wagons were the norm. Herds of goats, sheep and cows browsed through the dry grasses and several times we had to stop for them to cross the road. Honking the car horn at them had no effect except to calm the nerves of the driver. There were a lot of transport trucks of all shapes and sizes plied the road to the horizon. Some of these trucks are powered by single stroke engines, which replaced the original motor when it gave out. These trucks make a lot of noise and spew a choking black smoke. Even when I donned a mask, I spent half the trip hacking like I still smoked. All the regeneration of my lungs is probably now undone.
After 3.5 hours, we arrived in Bagan. It is built on a very sandy soil, almost like walking on the beach. I had spent the evening before selecting three temples I wished to explore. There are over a thousand to choose from, some more popular than
She Dan Saw Courtyard
This tree, along with several others of the same variety, must provide welcome refuge from the searing sunshine.
others, others restored or of more recent vintage. I chose the least visited. My first two choices were based on age and detailed relief design. The last choice was because I could climb to the top to get an overview of the plain.
There seems to be several ways to visit the temples, by taxi, horse-drawn cart, bicycle, or electric scooter. I am glad I didn’t visit on my own as there isn’t a detailed map and there is a labyrinth of paths weaving amongst the ruins and I would surely have gotten lost.
The first temple was She San Daw pagoda. It is the newest and in the best condition. The second complex, Nanpaya is the oldest by far but many stucco reliefs are still visible. Several locals hanging about are available for a small fee, to show you around. Of course, you are obliged to visit their sales stall to dicker over the trinkets they have for sale. Some nice items also available.
The last temple, Gaw Daw Palin, was by far the most interesting. It is quite large, has several terrasses and you can climb to the top
From She San Daw Pagoda
Love the intricate carving.
to get a panoramic view of the Bagan plain and all the temples. I had the odd feeling of having been here before, stronger than just memories of seeing pictures in National Geographic as a child. Possibly, I lived here in another life.
The steps up is a great cardio exercise. Each step is over knee high and only as deep as a Childs foot. Thankfully, there are railings to help balance. The railings were especially useful going down, which had to be negotiated by going sideways.
With some regrets, I returned to my taxi and we headed off into the village to find a bank and a place to eat. I spotted a likely resto, got out and left the driver to find a place to wait. After a filling lunch that costs me all of $2, I found my taxi and we returned to Mandalay. Despite the long drive, the driver was willing to take us to Inle the next day but could not compete with the price we had already negotiated with the hotel.
Claudette had spent the day at the market and had scouted out a restaurant for supper.
Bell at She San Daw
I just had to ring this bell so tapped it with one knuckle. A wonderful sonorous vibration. Wonder what would have happened if I had given the clapper a swing. It would probably have been heard for miles across the plain.
It took us a little while to find it again. What Buddhist calm I may have had in another life had not carried over into this one. All I wanted was to get out of town. Even in our hotel room, the window rattled when a truck rumbled by. Bonne nuit le monde.
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