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Published: March 14th 2018
Woolly says – It was time to tackle some more Buddha’s, the taxi ride to our first one took forever with traffic at a standstill, for once I wasn’t complaining about the heat as the sir con in the vehicle had given me icicles on my tusks! Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple houses one of the most revered reclining Buddha images in the country as well as being one of the biggest measuring in at 66 meters (217 ft) in length. It’s construction was sponsored by a wealthy Burmese Buddhist, Sir Po Tha, in 1899 but wasn’t completed until 1907 when it was found that it wasn’t proportioned correctly, and that the Buddha's face had an aggressive expression, an aggressive Buddha isn’t going to cut the mustard. But it wasn’t until the 1950’s that it was demolished and a new image started. As we pulled up it looked as though it was stored in an air craft hanger which given its size was probably the only size of building that would house it. The women discarded their shoes as I trotted inside and took my first breath taking view, it was impressive. This Buddha had certainly brought it’s bling to the table with
a beautiful crown and jewelled finishes to his robes, I trotted towards his feet which took a while and found that they were carved with the symbols associated with Buddhism, wonderful. Four lovely statues stood at the corners of his bed with the surrounding walls gleaming with further Buddha’s in a variety of poses. Having inspected each one I joined Jo in reading the story of Buddha’s enlightenment which was below a beautiful pictorial representation of his life and times.
There was a lot of reading, so I summarised the story for my friend which he seemed to enjoy and set him off looking for a monk, a dead man, a sick man and an old man which would keep him occupied for a while. Woolly says – I’d found a few old men and several crimson clad monks, but I was struggling with the other two and quickly grew weary, Buddha was obviously a better mammoth than me! Taking a final look at the huge statue I checked the map while the women reclaimed the footwear realising that our next Buddha was a short walk away. To take our mind off
the humidity as we ambled along I told the others about our next port of call. The Nga Htat Gyi pagoda is known for its enormous seated image of the Buddha known as the “five storey Buddha” who measures an impressive 14 meters in height. Built in 1900 he wears a golden robe with his back to a carved wooden screen. As we climbed upwards I found that I was leaving a trail of sweat behind me, doing a dog shake resulted in a glare from Jo as she brushed the excess water from her legs, I smiled at her as she shook her head. Is it terrible to say I wasn’t too impressed as we took our first view, it might well be, and it defiantly had something to do with the bamboo scaffolding that surrounded the huge deity or is it that I’m just seeing so many Buddha’s! Don’t get me wrong it was stunning in many ways and the gold lace like work was beautiful as was the wooden screen, but it didn’t have quite the same wow factor as our previous experience. We wandered around the pavilion that houses the statue admiring the columns, ceiling and
many other Buddha’s in a lovely scent of flowers and incense that had been brought to him. The iron worked windows were excellent depicting some of the well known characters that guard and protect Buddha.
It was a shame that it was covered as you could see that underneath there was fine workmanship, maybe a return trip when it had been returned to it’s full glory would be on the cards. Woolly says – Having waved farewell to Mr Buddha we retraced our steps to the main road and flagged down a taxi. I was quite excited about our last destination for the day although on the map it appeared that I might be dealing with a lot of water! Kandawgyi Lake was once the Royal Lake and was created to provide a clean water supply to the city during the British colonial administration, having paid to walk round it, which I hadn’t considered and felt a little cheated by my first look into the man made expanse, I knew I wouldn’t want to have my water from there, it was nearly luminous green and murky. Trying not to be put off
I led the way towards the incredible replica Burmese Royal Barge that sits in the slimy depths. It was a sight to behold as were the wooden walkways that had holes and decayed wood under paw, so much so that I feared for slipping into the water and left Jo to tip toe along until she had the picture she wanted and retuned to those of us who had not wanted to risk their lives. The place really needed some work doing to it. I was in need of my lunch and knowing that the barge structure was now used as a restaurant we gingerly followed the planks around to the entrance. We were met by two gentlemen in yellow who bowed and allowed us to have a look at the menu (we never sit down until we see what’s on offer having two veggies to contend with often meant we’d sit and then leave again) having looked at our options even I was struggling with the idea of birds nest, pigs tongues or cow cheeks, we decided to move on.
Having made our way over another stretch of broken timbers we found a
place that would suit us all. Except for the barge and the garden to the rear of that the whole place needed some serious work doing to make it safe, I wondered if the events of 15th April 2010 when three bombs had exploded near to the lake during the Burmese New Year festival killing 10 people and injuring 178 was anything to do with the decline of the lake and it surrounding area, it seemed a shame not to show it off to its full potential. Woolly says – We sat for a while discussing our expectations of Myanmar and how the city had far surpassed itself as well as the warnings we had read which had made us reluctant to venture further than the city itself, I rather wish we had ignored the British Forgiven Office and headed into more of the country, but maybe that can be for another time.
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