Saturday, December 09, 2006

Shawe Dagon Pagoda



Shwedagon Pagoda was believed to be build, way back to 2500 years ago. The King of Okkalapa was famously to be known in building up the whole task. The most significant feature of Shwedagon Pagoda is consisting of eight genuine Sandaw ( Hairs of Head ) of the Lord Gawdama Buddha , which were kept , as treasures together with tremendous amount of precious stones and other jewellery inside the pagoda. All the more so, Shwedagon Pagoda was decorated with nine wonders. It is situated right on top of the "Thein Gottara Hill " , known as the highest hill in Yangon. The total amount of pure gold alone with Shwedagon can be expected as of today, nearly nine tones even. It was learnt that the last general renovation was done in the year 1232 ME-1871 during the era of King Mindon. As has been well known, guildings including Shwehtidaw are gradually decaying and deteriorating due to time and weather over the period of 128 years. Under the proper guidance of the State Peace and Development Council, All-round Perpetual renovation of Shwedagon Pagoda was successfully carried out, led by Secretary-1, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt as Patron of the committee. Well-wishers not only Myanmar but also all over the world generously donated jewellery and cash for Htidaw Renovation of the Pagoda.
The most notable building in Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda, a great cone-shaped Buddhist monument that crowns a hill about one mile north of the Cantonment. The pagoda itself is a solid brick stupa (Buddhist reliquary) that is completely covered with gold. It rises 326 feet (99 m) on a hill 168 feet (51 m) above the city.



Structure
The perimeter of the base of the Pagoda is 1,420 feet and its height 326 feet above the platform. The base is surrounded by 64 small pagodas with four larger, one in the center of each side. There also are 4 sphinxes, on at each corner with 6 leogryphs, 3 on each side of them. Projecting beyond the base of the Pagoda, one on the cener of each side are Tazaungs in which are images of the Buddha and where offerings are made. There are also figures of elephants crouching and men kneeling, and pedestals for offerings all around the base. In front of the 72 shrines surrounding the base of the Pagoda, you will find in several places images of lions, serpents, ogres, yogis, spirits, or Wathundari (Recording Secretary Angel). On the wall below the first terrace of the Pagoda at the WSW and WNW corners, you will see embossed figures. The former represents King Okkalapa who first built the Pagoda. The latter is a pair of figures; the one above represents Sakka who assisted in foundation of the Pagoda, and the one below, Me Lamu, consort of Sakka and mother of Okkalapa.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ngapali Beach

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Ngapali Beach is surely one of the most beautiful beaches in Myanmar with unspoilt white sand fringed whit coconut groves as far as the eye can see. Still, you find primarily peace and wuite, lonely beaches for relaxing or excursions to some islands and fishing villages. Ngapali is easily and quickly accessible by airplane from Yangon to Thandue and a car transfer about 30 minutes.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bagan


Bagan is just 193 km south of Mandalay in Upper Myanmar accessible by boat, road and by air. From Yangon 682 km by land route. All domestic flights fly daily to and fro Bagan-Yangon. Since Bagan is a famous tourist site of Myanmar, it is well facilitated for accommodation and communication. There has variety of hotels like in Mandalay and Yangon. Known as the city of four million pagodas, Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia. Bagan city covers an area of 42 sq-km. Bagan was the capital of the first unified Empire of Anawrahta founded in 849 AD, and flourished from 1044 to the 13th century. According to the inventory of the Archeological Department, there are 2217 standing pagodas. It is on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. There, one can find over 2,000 pagodas, temples and monasteries built during the Bagan Dynasty. In spite of inclement weather of a thousand year, which had destroyed, the precious works of art, whatever survived to this day still thrill the beholders. Notable among the ancient glory are Shwezigone, Ananda, Thabyinnyu and Dhammayangyi. After unifying the country, Anawrahta accomplished another noble deed for the country: he introduced Theravada Buddhism into Myanmar with the help of Shin Arahan, a missionary monk from Thaton. It was Buddhism that influenced the rulers of Bagan Dynasty to build innumerable pagodas and temples in and around the city. The endless pagodas stand testimony to the rich cultural heritage of the Myanmars and also to the beauty and grandeur of ancient pagoda.

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda


Location
Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is located in the small town called Kyaikhto, in the Mon State. This destination is 160km away from Yangon. The pagoda is 1100km above sea-level. It is a 11 kilometer uphill climb for the hikers from Kinpun base camp. There is also a steep winding road for 4-wheel drive cars from the base to the nearest point of the pagodas. The pagoda is also known as "the golden rock".

The meaning of Kyaikhtiyo pagoda
According to Mon tradition, the name is a corruption of Kyaik-ithi--yo being derived as follows. In Mon language the word "Kyaik" means " pagoda" and " yo" " to carry on the hermits head", in Pali the word" ithi" means a hermit and therefore the name means " the pagoda carried on the hermit's head.

Structure
The pagoda, about 18 feet high, and 50 feet in girth. is situated on the hill of the same name on the ridge between Sittaung and Thanlwin. It is built on a huge, almost egg- shaped, rounded granitoid boulder perched on the very summit of a projecting and shelving tabular rock, which in itself is separated several feet from the mountain by a rent or chasm, now spanned by a small foot bridge of iron and on the further side drops perpendicularly into a valley blow.

History
It is said that the boulder has been over 2500 years. The tradition is that after the hermit had obtained the hair from the Buddha, he was carrying it on his head inside his hair knot till he found a boulder which resembled his head, and so he built the pagoda on its enshrining the relic, substituting the boulder for his over head.
On the extreme verge of this sloping rock table, and actually over hanging it by nearly half, is perched this wonderful boulder (now completely gilded with gold), thirty feet high and surrounded by the pagoda. By gently rocking the boulder a thread can be passed underneath; seemingly appears as if the additional weight of a few pounds, or a strong wind, would send it sliding down from the place it has occupied for unknown centuries watching over three thousand feet into the sloping valley beneath and we know what freakish law keeps it in its position. Anyway pious Buddhists attribute it to the power of the relic enshrined in the pagoda. This relic is a hair of Gotama Buddha given to a hermit residing on the mountain by the Buddha himself as he was returning from the second heaven of the Nats whither he had gone to preach the law to his mother.

Festival
It is of considerable celebrity and attracts crowds of worshippers annually beginning from October to March which is the seasonal pilgrimage period for worshippers Especially on the full moon day of Tabaung, the platform of the pagoda is lighted with ninety thousand candles offered to the Buddha and thousands of worshippers gather around the pagoda offering fruits, foods incense to the Buddha. Sometimes reflected rays of color from the Buddha's image were said to have been observed by the worshipers.

Kyaikhtiyo Wildlife Sanctuary
This wild life sanctuary was established in 1998. It covers a total area of 180.05 Sq. km. It is situated in Tropical Rain forest type. Recorded birds are only 50 species, the others are not yet recorded. Highlight species that can be found are Great Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Blue-throated Barbet, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Germain's Swiftlet, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch , Black-headed Bulbul, Streak-eared Bulbul and Black-throated Laughing thrush. Other mammals such as :Goral, Gaur, Sambhur Deer, Bear and Monkey can also be seen. There are also about 50 species of butterflies. Trekking at Mt. Kyaikhtiyo can also be enjoyed. The distance is 1,102m.

Atumashi Monastery



The Atumashi Kyaung, or Incomparable Monastery (Maha Atulawaiyan Kyaungdawgyi) , was originally built in 1857 by King Mindon (1853-1879), who had founded his new capital of Upper Burma at Mandalay just a few years earlier in 1855. It was one of the King’s last great religious construction project. The original Atumashi was a magnificent wooden structure with considerable exterior stucco and set on a high platform reached by a formal ceremonial staircase. Instead of the traditional “pyatthat” (graduated wooden spires of decreasing size) and multi-roof design of traditional monastic buildings, the Atumashi was a huge grandiose structure surrounded by five graduated rectangular terraces. It was considered one of Southeast Asia’s most magnificent buildings.

It originally contained a very large, almost 30 ft (9 m), image of the Buddha made from the king’s lacquered silk clothing. There were numerous treasures within the structure, including a large diamond set in the forehead of the Buddha, four complete sets of the Tripikata (the ‘three baskets’ of the Buddhist sacred texts), and much more. When the British annexed the city and Upper Burma in 1885, the large diamond vanished, perhaps taken by the British or other marauders. The building and its entire contents burned down in 1890.

For many years the ruins of the building lay open to the elements. Stumps of the charred teak pillars, a grand staircase and some colonnaded walls remained. The area was cleared in the 1990s and was rebuilt according to the original plans in 1996 by the Burmese archaeological department with the use of convict labor. While somewhat impressive, it does not come close to recreating the magnificence of the original building. The Atumashi Kyaung is near the Kuthodaw Pagoda, built at the same time, and next door to the Shwenandaw.

Kuthodaw Pagoda (World's Largest Book)




The Kuthodaw Pagoda or Maha Lawka Marazein Paya is often called the world’s largest book. It is a large walled complex situated at the base of the southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill and was built by King Mindon at the same time he was constructing the Royal Palace. Its central stupa is modeled on the Shwezigon at Nyaung U near Bagan.
The Kuthodaw Paya (Pagoda), or Maha Lawka Marazein Paya, contains what often is called the world’s largest book. It is a large walled complex situated at the base of the southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill and was built by King Mindon at the same time he was constructing the Royal Palace. Its central stupa is modeled on the Shwezigon at Nyaung U near Bagan. An on-site carved tablet indicates that the pagoda’s height is 187 ft 9 in, high, while some guide books list it at 100 ft (30 m). The former includes the platform in the measurement.
The stupa itself, connected to the outside entry by means of a long corridor, is set in the middle of a thirteen acre field of 729 pitaka pagodas or shrines (Dama Cetis). Each shrine contains a marble slab, inscribed on both sides with the Pali script text of a portion the Tipitaka (Pali spelling, or Tripitaka, in Sanskrit), Theravada Buddhism’s sacred texts. Taken together, they contain the entire text of the Tipitaka and thus form “the world’s largest book.” The slabs were carved from white Sagyin Hill marble found just a few miles north of Mandalay. The work of carving began in October 1860 and was carried out in a special hall within King Mindon’s Royal Palace. Each slab is 5 ft ((1.5 m) by 3.5 ft (1.1 m) wide and 5-6 in. (12.7 – 15 cm) thick. The Buddhist scholar/carvers completed their task in May 1869. If spread out horizontally, the slabs would cover a third of an acre (.1 ha);
stacked vertically, the ‘pages’ would rise 340 ft (103 m). Originally the lettering also had a gold leaf veneer. The statistics given here are those given by U Tun Aung Chain, retired Professor of History, Yangon University.

Several sources suggest the important role of the Fifth Buddhist Synod, which King Mindon called in 1872, in the development of the Kuthodaw. It perhaps was at this meeting of 2,400 monks from throughout the country that both authenticated the texts and began the construction of the encasing shrines.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Innlay Lake

Innlay Lake, the jewel of Shan State, is located about 30 km to the south of Taunggyi. This vast, beautiful and picturesque Lake, sheltered among the hazy blue mountains of 1524 metres, stretches 22.4 km long and 10.2 km wide. The lake itself is about 900 metres above sea-level and studded with floating islands. Innlay Lake is famous for its unique one-leg rowers, floating villages and colourful markets. Ywama' the site of a daily floating "markets" and Innlay-Khaungdaing Spa are places to visit. Innlay silk is quite popular in Myanmar and silk weaving and hand-looms can be seen at Innpaw-Khon village. The celebrated PhaungDawOo Pagoda is situated in this lake. Its festival, held once a year in October, is full of pageantry and ceremonial splendor. There is one thing very peculiar and different from other countries i.e. Innlay traditional unique one-leg rowers races can be seen by visitors during the festival of PhaungDawU Pagoda.

Ananda Temple



The Ananda Temple, completed in 1090, is King Kyansitha's master-piece and the crowning achievement of the early style of temple architechture. The plan is that of a perfect Greek cross. There are 4 huge Buddha images in standing position and a series of 80 relief's depicting the Final Life of the Buddha from His Birth to His Enlightenment which is notable. The Ananda Pagoda festival held in January is a big event drawing pilgrims even from far away places.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

U Pein Bridge


The old intriguing 1208 Metres long " U Pein Bridge " was totally constructed with teak planks by Mayor U Pein over 2 centuries ago near Amarapura, South of the Mandalay. This bridge is the longest wooden bridge in Myanmar. It can use to cross safely and stands as a new style except minor reconstruction.


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