Pyay’s Shwesandaw Pagoda is one of Myanmar’s largest gilded stupas, and it is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage locations in Myanmar. Its mesmerizing form, soaring like a giant rocket above the tin rooftops and palms below, is reason enough to visit the Pagoda.
On this trip, I would rate Pyay’s Shwesandaw just behind the Royal Palace in Bangkok, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, and the temples at Bagan as the most spectacular sites. Pyay did not appear as dirty or run-down as other cities that we have seen so far.
These extraordinarily shaped, vast pagodas rise dramatically out of the flat Pyay landscape; in addition to their religious functions, they served as watchtowers.
For lunch, the soup was chicken with Thai flavor. Mains were a classic hamburger with fries; fish with soya bean and jasmine rice; and pasta with cheese sauce. The dessert was apple strudel with vanilla sauce and assorted melons.
In their heyday, these structures would probably have been plastered and painted, but their red brick is now decorated with an assortment of vegetation. Also, we went to the museum that contains some interesting pieces excavated from the palace. Some of the pieces reflecting Indian Hindu influences go back to the 4th to 6th centuries AD. There are also Buddha images going back to the early beginnings of Buddhism.
For dinner, we had a banana flower salad or lentil soup. Mains were pork curry; pawn curry with potatoes/carrots/rice (my choice); and pasta with tomatoes/garlic and shrimp. I had white wine and the dessert was caramel pineapple with ice cream.
Photos belong to Phil Bianco.