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Published: June 22nd 2017
11th century temple
Here's our shore guide giving us a talk at this temple. If you zoom onto the back wall you can see the remnants of very decorative render or plaster covering the bricks. The temple was circled by vendors' stalls. It reminded me of the gauntlet of vendors at the Piza Tower in Italy.
Geo: 21.1367, 94.8383
The golden age for Myanmar was the Bagan Empire (or Pagan, depending on your source) that flourished around the city of Bagan on the eastern banks of the Ayeyarwady River. This was from 9 -13th C. Apparently there were 5,000+ pagodas in an area of several square miles around the city. A large earthquake in 1975 destroyed many of them but I fear we will still find plenty to visit in our shore excursion today.
In Myanmar, "pagoda" is a generic name for a Buddhist structure. If they are solid then they are called "stupa". If they are hollow buildings (a space you can walk into) then they are called "temples". Perhaps because of construction ease, stupa seem much more impressive and plentiful. Temples are generally smaller and consist of one or just a few rooms.
We had a moment of Internet yesterday as there was a communications tower right beside the boat when we 'docked' for the Tan Kyi Mt visit. Sadly Rob and I were having a "Burmese" (walking) massage when the announcement was made and then we had no time to go online. So I am sinking deeper into internet withdrawal - if we had access today I
That Byin Nyu temple
At 61m this is the tallest temple in Old Bagan. Apparently the temples were built without any special foundations and the builders kept the height low in relation to the width of the base to aid stability. The building has lasted a thousand years and umpteen earthquakes, so I guess they knew what they were doing.
would forgo the stupas and stay onboard!
Well, it turns out that Bagan temples are very impressive and Bagan is seeking to rival Siem Reap as a destination for viewing thousand year old temples. According to our day sheet there are 2,237 pagodas in the 42 sq miles of Old Bagan. We also visited a lacquerware factory in New Bagan, and climbed a couple of the lesser temples to view the sunset - which was a fizzer because the sun disappeared in the haze and we did not see it actually dip below the horizon. In the evening we watched a Burmese puppet show on our boat's sun deck.
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