Golden Pagodas -Myanmar -Blessed by Nature

 

Pagodas
Pagodas

Nature’s Blessings

Myanmar lies to India’s northeast and share a border of nearly 1600 km. It is bigger than Rajasthan and Madhyapradesh combined ! . In fact Myanmar is the second largest country  in Southeast  Asia  The shape of a country is like a kite  with  a long tapering tail  . There are three major riveres of Myanmar of Irrawaddy is  the longest which has a length of 2170 km.  Coastline  distance  is of 1930 km. along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman sea . blessed with an abundant monsoon, , this country has fertile soil except in the drier central part, and coastle waters and rivers brimming with  fish . There are dense tropical forests with valuable teak trees  and rich variety of wild life . It does not lack in mineral wealth either  . Besides ores such as tungsten and tin , its rubies , pearls and sapphires  are world –renowned as is its high quality jade. It also has crude oil resources  and potential for generating geothermal energy . No wonder then  that  Burma was thought to be  the fabled Land of Gold  or Suvarnabhoomi!

 History

In the starting of 840 AD., the Bamar, or Burman, a people from southern China settled in central Burma , in a place that come to be  known as Pagan(Bagan). The man responsible for unifying the Burmese was Anawrahta who ruled from 1014 AD to 1077 AD. The last king , Thibaw of the Konbaung  dynasty , abdicated and was  exiled to Ratnagiri in Maharshtra with his family bringing an end to the Monarchy in Burma .

Ironically , the last king of the Mughals in India , Bahadur Shah  Zafar II was exiled to Rangoon

Winking Wonder

Though  no longer the official capital, Yangon  is Myanmar’s  biggest  and commercially most important city . It is dominated  by the ‘ Winking wonder ‘ – the Shwedagon Paya . One of Buddhism’s sites, it attracts piligrims from all over the world .  The stupa stands on the  Singuttara hill. The entire complex covers 46 hectares.  The 97.5 m high zedi or stupa , is adorned with 27 metric tonnes of gold leaf and thousands of diamond s and othere gems. Four graceful covered stairways lead to main terrace .

According to legend , stupa is 2600 years old . Two merchant brothers, Tapussa and Ballika , met the Buddha who gave them eight6 of his hairs to take back to  Myanmar. Then ruled over by King Okkalpa . Okakalapa enshrined  the hairs in a temple of  gold , togeteher with the relics of three former Buddhas , which were then  enclosed in a temple of silver ,, then one of tin, then copper , then lead, then marble  and finally one of the brick. The original stupa was probably build by the Mon people  between  the 6 th and 10 th centuries . It has been rebuilt several times since . In the 15 th century  , the royals  began offering their own weight in gold for gilding the stupa .

During the 17 th century , the monument suffered  earth quake  damage on eight occasions. In 1768 , a quake brought down the whole top of the zedi.King Hsinbyushin had it rebuild to its present height

Inle lake :

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Myanmar’s second largest lake                 lies in the Shan Hills in north east Myanmar.  Spreading area of this lake is 116 sq. km. Several different ethnic groups live around  Inle : the Taunggyo, the Pa-O and the Intha , whse houses are built on stilts on the lake itself  . Inthan fishermen row unique flatended canoes which they paddle with their feet, while using both hands to fish !

Village near the lake have thriving  cottage industries that include boat making ,  silver  works and lotus silk weaving. The fibre is extracted  from the pitch of the lotus stem and  then woven into fine cloth

Fort
Fort

Mandalay Fort

A hot , bustling city on the banks of the Irrawaddy, Mandalay has  a number of pagodas, striking churches, Indian temples and mosques amidst the urban sprawl of concrete blocks . On the riverside , there are countless little visited monasteries and range of craft workshop , galleries and theaters.

Mahamuni Buddha

Everyday thousands venerate  the Mahamuni Buddha , 4 m. tall seated image that’s believed to be  some 2000 years old. Gold leaf is applied on the figure by male devotees. Years of practice has left the figure with a 15 cm. thick layer of pure gold.

The Mandalay fort can be seen only from the outside. A 69 m wide mote  and over 6 km of crenulated 8 m high walls form a vast square around the site of the former citadel and royal palace . The walls are punctuated at regular intervals with gate towers topped by pyramids of carved wood

The marble tablet in the Kuthodaw Pagoda at Mandalay have Buddhist teachings inscribed in Pali Script. They make the world ‘s largest book

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