Day 2 – Mandalay Part 1

We woke up early the next day having well rested our weary bones, had breakfast (that was provided by the hotel - nothing to write home about) and off we went to Yangon airport again to take an domestic flight to Mandalay. It was just slightly more than a half hour flight and when we landed we noticed a huge contrast between the airports. Mandalay airport is actually built as an international airport but with no international traffic it was only used for domestic flights. What a waste. Moreover it is situated about 45 minute's drive from the city proper.

Mandalay is the second largest city after Yangon with a population of about 6 million people. It is famous for its gem stones and handicrafts. The road network is not as good as those in Yangon. You can find all sorts of vehicles on the road. These include horse and ox carts.

As we were early and it was before check-in time, we visited the one of the holiest temple of Myanmar, the Mahamuni Paya famous for its gold leaf Buddha. It is claimed that the Buddha image is a life Buddha in that worshipers would paste gold leaves on the body daily (never on the head) and over the years the thickness has increased. The head apparently and miraculously enlarged proportionately with the body!

Like a few of the other touristy areas we went on our trip there was an entrance fee for cameras - we were stopped and asked to pay for using our cameras. And like most of the temples we visited there were souvenir shops lined on both sides of the way towards the temple. The shot below was taken at the entrance after by-passing the shops. The payment counter was just to the left (glass booth). Do not be surprised if you see many worshipers there it being a very holy temple.

There were monks everywhere.

Novice monk.

Novice nun.

There were bogus monks as well. They would asked for donations from you which is prohibited by Buddhism.

This apparently was one of them. Notice the stain in his mouth due to betel leave chewing.

Have you ever seen a photographer monk? 😉

I have to show this...don't you agree he is a Michael Jackson lookalike?

The worshipers come with their families. That gave me the opportunity to take some portraits of them.

Here is a baby boy who did not mind.

And his grandma.

Notice most of them apply powder aka thanaka, made from the bark of the tree of the same name, to their face.

Including males.

Apparently besides for beauty it helps to protect the skin from the sun.

This is his sister looking back.

A close up.

It was soon time to leave the temple. Next destination - the handicraft workshops. To be continued - Mandalay Part 2.




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