After lunch , Uncle Chen asked us where do we want to go to as we still have some time before catching our bus at 7pm to Bagan, we asked if it is possible to get to the reclining Buddha ( Chauk Htat Gyi) and Uncle Chen said yes and got us a taxi and off we went. We did not have to pay entrance fee to get into Chauk Htat Gyi, Uncle Chen explained that ‘Chauk’ mean Six and Htat mean level or storey.
It wasn’t easy to take a picture of the complete statue from the front because of the sheer size of is as well as the beams and columns that obstructed the view. Luckily there was a raised platform that allowed us to take a ‘whole’ image, check out the size of this …This is the largest reclining Buddha statue in Myanmar
Work on this image started in 1899, the donor named U Hpo Thar being fired by his ambition to make it a model edifice not only in this country but in the whole world as well. By 1907, the image of the Buddha half reclining on a royal couch on his flank, one hand propping up his upper torso was completed. From afar one might have mistaken it for an image in the seated posture.
The image then had a length of 195 feet (59.28m) and a height of 100 feet (30.4m) from the surface of the couch to the halo round the head with the height of the couch itself 5 feet 6 inches above the platform. Extensive reconstruction completed in 1973 extended the length of the image to 216 feet (65.85m) with the height of the couch however, reduced to 4 feet (1.22m). Originally the axis of the head turned towards the west and the visage faced the south, but the reconstructed image has the head aligned towards the east and the visage facing north.
And from the plague, i learn that the marks represent the three worlds. 1- 59 indicating the inanimate world (Okasaloka) 2- 21 indicating the animate world (Sattaloka) and 3- 28 indicating the world of the Conditioned (Sankharaloka), clicked on this http://www.myanmars.net/myanmar-museum/buddha-footprint.htm to find out more about the description of the marks.
At this time we did a time checked and again the clocks were a bit behind the time shown on our ‘adjusted’ watches, Myself and AhPhenng being pretty insistent so far that our watches were correct and any other time piece showing other time were wrong. Thennnn…we realised ( after half a day) that Myanmar is 1.30 hours behind KL time…and not 1 hour as our ‘adjusted’ watch…..tsk tsk tsk.
We exit Chauk Htat Gyi and Uncle Chen guide us to cross the road and Voila, we were at Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda
Foreigners had to pay an entrance fee before entering Ngar Htat Gyi. We had to do some fluid adjustment and the lady at the counter so kindly took us to the washroom, the washroom were kept under lock and key- with shiny new spick and span flush toilet..we were greatly impressed, we wanted to wash our hands but found that the taps were dry, kind lady had to take us to another area, this was a large shed with a few planks of wood for flooring and a cemented ‘pool’ of water, we later learn that this was the washroom for the locals..oh..err…
We walked back to the main shrine, and saw these fans hanging from the ceiling – look closely, the fans was made from lots of Kyats ! These are donations from the devotees, these are different from the thai temples back home where the donation money are usually ‘pasted’ on branches to make a tree-liked structure ( click here )
Uncle Chen told us that ‘Ngar’ mean Five- so this is a five level/ storey structure compared to Chauk Htat Gyi which is six level/storey . From the WWW, I found that this method of qualifying temples by levels/ storeys seemed to be a development which began during the second Innwa period ( also known as Ava period , which was 14th – 16th century )
We exit Ghar Htat Gyi and this being mainly a blog about food , I won’t be able to complete a posting without a picture of food , so here it is, this stall was set out just outside the gate of the temple..grilled ladies fingers, deep fried tau kwa ( hard tofu), grilled hard boiled egg, something that looked like fish balls ( ?) and dunno what those black thingies were.
Uncle Chen stopped a taxi for us, and told the driver to send us to the bus station, we said our good byes and thanked Uncle Chen for his kindness- his reply was that it gives him great pleasure to show the temples to people that are interested to visit temples, this also gave him the opportunity to gain some merits as well as fill up his free time. There is still hope ..there are good people in this world …well, in Myanmar anyway! Thank you so much Uncle Chen. You are a gem and so much more..
On the way to the bus station , whenever we see any interesting buildings, we will be totally excitable and point to it and asked the driver the name of the building, sometimes we understand him and sometimes not and I think this was mutual lah….suddenly he asked ‘ you want see temple, free no need money’ ..we weren’t sure about the timing and asked him do we have the time, Mr Driver didn’t say anything and we started to see some familiar landmarks that indicated that we were on the right route to the bus station..oh..well..look like we are going to the bus station …then after a few turns , we found that we were in front of the golden gate of the temple and Mr Driver stopped the car and then told us that we could leave our shoes in the car..we got out of the car and saw this…Woooww Weeeee…
This temple was not named in the guidebooks that we have been referring to , when writing this piece I was looking up the WWW for a name of the temple and found this website http://www.adit-htan.org/projects.htm and I hope that the name – Maha Kyein Payagyi is correct. At this site, you can also have a look at the picture of the statue while it was going through construction.