Thursday, March 3, 2016

Kanbawzathadi Palace and Kyaikpun Pagoda.

The Great Audience Hall inside Kanbawzathadi Palace.

Before arriving back into Yangon, we stopped in the city of Bago to see two sights - the Kanbawzathadi Palace and Kyaikpun Pagoda. We went to visit the palace first.

The original Kambawzathadi Palace dates from the 2nd half of the 16th century, a very properous time in Burmese history. It was built but King Bayinnaung of the Taungoo Dynasty, a vast empire that included much of present day Myanmar, Thailand and part of China.

Construction of the palace started in 1553 but in 1559, the palace was looted and burned during armed conflict. Its remains were abanoned. In 1993, the Department of Archaeology started excavation work on the site. Six mounds were excavated, revealing t the brick foundations of several of the palace buildings. Several hundred of the original teak pillars used for the construction of the palace in the 16th century were uncovered, many of them inscribed with Mon texts, as well as nearly 2,000 Buddha images.

The original palace consisted of 76 apartments and halls. Today, we saw two rooms in the reconstructed palace - the Great Audience Hall and the Bee Throne Hal which were both rebuilt according to their original construction drawings.


We entered the Audience Hall first, a large open space supported by large, painted wood columns. On display were several of the teak columns that held up the original roof.




The magnificent Bee Throne.



The reconstructed palace does not contain much of the original furniture and personal items used by the Royals as most of it was lost when the palace was looted and destroyed in 1559. There are several reproduction items on display including a replica of the King's golden coach, decorated with two peacocks and a Pyatthat style roof.


Our last sightseeing stop for the day was Kyaikpun Pagoda.



Kyaikpun Pagoda is home to the Four Seated Buddha shrine which depicts the four Buddhas who have reached Nirvana -Kassapa Buddha, Kakusandha Buddha, Konagamana Buddha and Gautama Buddha. The Buddhas sit back to back, facing the four cardinal directions, against a massive brick central square post on top of which is a golden spire with a multi-tired ceremonial umbrella.

The Four Seated Buddha was built by King Migadippa of Bago in the 7th century AD and renovated by King Dhammazedi in the 15th century AD.




The Four Seated Buddhas wear golden robes and all have slightly different facial expressions though there is no plaque to tell which Buddha is who. I guess you're just suppose to know.




From Bago, it was about a 70 kilometer (42 mile) drive to Yangon. Before arriving back into the heart of the city and the Taw Win Garden hotel, we dropped Spring off near his home. It was bittersweet to let him go. He was a really good guide in part because his English is excellent and in part because he has good knowledge of the history of Myanmar and the landmarks we visited. As I shook his hand to thank him, I slipped him his tip. We then all said our thank-you's and good byes. Lucky for me, Spring and I are now friends on Facebook so I can not only see what he's up to but also the sights of places in Myanmar that he's visiting but that we did not get to our trip. The interesting places will be added to my wish list.

Tonight, the lazy threesome just headed back down to the food court, in the shopping mall next to our hotel, for dinner. Poor Pagoda Mouse, aka Ayşe had just enough kyat left to pay for her dinner bill though Bro and I would have gladly treated here. While she's still insisting that the money somehow got left behind in one of the hotel rooms....fell out while she was packing, we think spent she actually spent it all. Her suitcase started out weighing a tone and with all her purchases in Thailand and Myanmar, it now weighs a ton and a half!! Only teasing. She had a wonderful time on this trip and as will Bro and I will be leaving Myanmar with a lifetime of priceless memories.

Tomorrow, our driver will pick us up at the hotel and deposit us at the airport for our flight back to Bangkok. I cannot believe how quickly our time in Myanmar has flown by. It feels like just yesterday that we arrived into Mandalay.

Indeed, I leave Myanmar feeling like I've just nicked the tip of the iceberg in terms of places to visit, things to do and foods to eat. I would truly love to co me back one day as I keep adding items to my bucket list for Myanmar :-)

So, I will say goodnight from Yangon, I will not yet say goodby to Myanmar!