Suitcase and World: Kyaik-than-lan Pagoda & Mahamuni Paya.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Kyaik-than-lan Pagoda & Mahamuni Paya.

Kyaik-than-lan Pagoda.

Kyaik-than-lan Pagoda  was erected in 875 A.D. during the reign of King Mutpi Raja.  *Kyaik* means "stupa" in the Mon  language.  The pagoda stands on a ridge, giving a panoramic view of the city and the Thanlwin River and is surrounded by 34 smaller temples.  It is believed that among its sacred treasures is a hair relic of Buddha well as a tooth relic conveyed from Sri Lanka by a delegation of monks.  Tripitaka manuscripts and gold images of the Buddha are also enshrined here.

In the years that followed its original construction, successive kings expanded the pagoda as well as raised the pagoda higher and higher until it reached a height of 46 meters (150 feet) from its original height of 17 meters (56 feet).

Spring brought us here for a sunset view over the city to the Thanlwin River.  We arrived and took our shoes off at the entrance tower before taking the elevator up to the pagoda complex.  There is a covered walkway that will take you up from the parking lot level to the pagoda but we took the easy way up :-)

We took in the views and chatted with Spring, who by the way speaks flawless English, while the sun  made its way down to the horizon.

A small crowd soon gathered to watch the sunset.  I have to admit, I don't know how to appreciate a sun set.  I can take the view or leave it. 

In fact, after I took a few obligatory shots, I was more interested in walking around the complex and taking photos.  I left the setting sun to the others.

I checked back now and again with the crew.  When I heard the laughter and saw the smile on Spring's face, I knew they were doing just fine and I could continue with my wandering.

The elevator tower.  The parking lot is at the base.

Where there are visitors, there are souvenir vendors. :-)

We hung around after the sun was past the horizon. I explained to Spring that this was the start of the magical blue hour and that for photographers, this is prime shooting time.  In fact, I told him that he ought to consider taking his photography loving tourists to Shwedagon at this time of day because the gold stupas just glow and stand out beautifully against the dark blue sky.  He took a few photos on his smartphone and sure enough, they were gorgeous.  I think he's convinced.

We left Kyaik-than-lan Pagoda when it got too dark to take photos.  From here, we took a short ride....though we could've have easily walked, to Mahamuni Paya.  Inside was a large ornately decorated room with a small chamber situated in the middle.

Four doors led to the chamber but only one was opened for entry.

Inside, the chamber looked like a jewel-box, shimmering with mirrored tiles and containing a century-old replica of its namesake in Mandalay.  Thankfully, this one had not been drowned under countless layers of gold leaf so you could actually see the Buddha image.  Now I know what the one in Mandalay is suppose to look like :-)

We called it a day after seeing the Mahamuni Buddha.  Though we had done very little walking, the long drive was tiring.  We were too lazy to even go out and find a place for dinner, opting instead for a meal at the hotel restaurant.  Tomorrow, we are making our way back to Yangon with a lot of sightseeing along the way.  Spring has already warned us, several times, that it will be a very long day so I am hitting the sack early.

Goodnight from Mawlamyine!