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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Memories of Mandalay cruise....

The ruins of medieval Bagan are scattered over an area of roughly 26 square miles, southwest of Mandalay on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River.  Formerly inhabited by between 50,000 to 200,000 people, the lost city of Bagan is now largely deserted, with most of the local population and tourist-related businesses confined to settlements on the peripheries, leaving the monuments rising in a state of charismatic isolation. 

I ask myself why I have not read anything that does not classify the religious structures at Bagan as one of the Wonders of the World.   It is bewildering, because I think they deserve this distinction.  
Pya Thet Gyi Pagoda - perhaps we stopped here to get a panoramic view of the Bagan area. 
Thapyinnyunt Temple - construction of this temple introduced the idea of placing a smaller "hollow" cube on top of a larger Bamar-style structure, whereas the previous Mon-style shrines were only one storey.   The center of the lower cube is solid, serving as a foundation for the upper temple, which houses an eastward-looking Buddha figure.

The Ananda Temple, completed in 1091, is considered the masterpiece of Bagan’s surviving Mon architecture. This temple was inspired by eight Indian Buddhist monks who told the Burmese of a legendary Himalayan cave temple whose beauty inspired the Burmese to build Ananda Temple.

For lunch, the soup was sweet and sour fish.   In addition to the usual selection of fresh bread, various salads, cheese, etc, the main dishes were pork "tauk tauk" with jasmine rice; or smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese (my choice); or Burmese fried noodles with vegetables and fried egg. The dessert was cake and yellow watermelon.

We also had mangosteen for desert.  The fruit of the mangosteen is sweet and tangy, juicy, and somewhat fibrous. I thought that they were alright, but not spectacular.

Next blog - continuation of day
Photos belong to Phil Bianco.

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