Archive for February 1, 2013

Woke up to a cool morning, took a shower and then got ready to go to the coffeehouse  for breakfast ( the USD 25 room rate  were inclusive of breakfast) .Took our seats and waiter asked us how would we like our eggs, I would like an omelet , please..

A plate of fruits consisting of a banana, slices of watermelon plus pineapple were delivered to our table, plus tea + coffee and then a plate of something, err..this is a weird looking tasted good though, must be the Myanmar style omelet.DSCN9998

After a few minutes …two slices of toast and the omelet were delivered to our the earlier ‘something’ was actually  a pancake..Omelet ?? what a clever Malaysian i am ..tsk tsk tsk…DSCN9999

After breakfast, we stepped into the cool morning sun and Osaka was already waiting for us, and Mr Driver proudly showed us his ‘I love Malaysia’ t-shirt under his leather jacket . This was a gift from his brother who worked in KL .

Our first destination for the day- Sulamani temple..we drove through dirt roads…P1010499

Then we drove through beautifully landscaped tarmac roads..P1010500

Then we arrived at Sulamani temple. Sulamani was built in 1181 by Narapatisithu The name means ‘Crowning Jewel’ or ‘Small Ruby.P1010501

A ‘face’ plus glazed plaques at the templeP1010504

A devotee is seen applying gold leaf to the Buddha Image.P1010505

We saw interesting frescoes on the interior walls of the templeP1010514

These frescoes are said to be from the Konbaung periodP1010518

A more colourful mural, this looked newer than the ones shown above..DSCN0003_3

There were four Buddha images on the ground floor, this is one of the statues .Remains of the mural behind the statue is still visibleP1010513

This Buddha image has a little roof above- we saw some bird poo on the ‘robe’ on the Buddha image, the roof might be a protective layer for the Buddha’s head..bad birdie.. i wonder will the birds reap bad karma from acts like these…P1010515

The head of this image was gilded but the torso was not.  We walked quietly as not to disturbed  the meditating monk. I was curious why a monk would place bank notes by his meditating mat. Then he opened his eyes and pointed at the bank notes..i think he was asking for some money. Hey, how can like that one !!  I think this misguided monk might suffer worse fate than the poo poo birdies..P1010519

We couldn’t go up to any of the floors, so we continue our exploration outside the compound of the temple. Sulamani was damaged during the 1975 earthquake and rebuilt in 1994P1010529

Pilasters in the form of stupa at the corners.P1010525

Intricate ornamental work around the templeP1010521


Arches and frescoesP1010534

The beautiful red brick temple against the blue blue sky..P1010532

Earlier I wrote  that from the way he whipped and scold Osaka, Mr Driver was a cruel master , but on the other hand, Osaka seemed to be a lazy horse too ( or maybe we were too heavy) , he/she ( I was going to find out but I forgot to ‘inspect’) will often slow down and not trot in a straight line without constant whipping . I am not joking when I tell you that Osaka is probably one of the slowest horse in Bagan.. we were overtaken by other horse cart countless times. We later found out that Osaka is four years old and Chunny’s horse was eleven years old—maybe Osaka was just young and still learning the ways of horse carting… Aiyaaa alllaaa hooyaa mama…

Our next destination – Dhammayangyi Temple.

From  The Dhammayangyi (or Dhamma-yan-gyi) Pahto, extending approximately 255 feet on each of its four sides, is Bagan’s most massive shrine. There is considerable controversy over the identity of the builder and the construction of the building itself. It probably was built by King Narathu (1167-1170) over a three year period to atone for his wicked rule. Yet some have attributed it to Narathu’s father and predecessor, Sithu I, who also built Thatbyinnyu. Legend suggests that Narathu met his end in a series of morbid events shortly after acceding to the throne. He had smothered his father and, shortly thereafter, his brother. After he had one of his wives (a former Indian princess and one of the wives of his father) executed for her Hindu hygienic rituals, he was assassinated by eight men, disguised as Brahmin priests, sent by the princess’s father. Others, however, have suggested that his death came at the hands of a Ceylonese mission that not only killed the king but sacked the city and introduced Ceylonese influence into the architectural spirit of Bagan.P1010537

Once we stepped into the temple, we were approached by five young ladies carrying baskets of souvenir items like postcards and lacquer wares. It was hard to shake them off and two of them start to tag along with us – speaking to us in English and then when they heard us speaking mandarin , they uttered a few words of mandarin too. After walking with us for a while and getting the cold shoulder, there was only one of them left and she continue to tell us about the temple and well, we listened and started to ask her questions too…P1010542

Our tour guide’s name is Aye-Aye and she is a college student , during the weekends, she hang out at the temple to earn some extra pocket money to support the family, her ambition is to study at a University in Mandalay majoring in history so that she can become a tour guide.

While we were walking with Aye-Aye thought the passages, she showed us the inner ambulatory passages that were sealed – one of the theory behind this was that the construction workers sealed the passages to King Narathu. I wonder what treasures lie  behind these sealed walls..P1010544

We saw more Buddha images along our walk..P1010547

This particular statue is re-constructed, but I can’t remember whether the head or the torso was the original.P1010545

At  the western gate we saw the images of the historical ( Gotama) and future ( Maitreya) Buddha sitting side by side P1010552

At the back of the two images was a statue of the reclining Buddha, we were told that this was made by King Narathu to seek forgiveness from his wife after he killed her fatherP1010548

The brickwork at Dhammayangyi is said to be the finest in Bagan, Narathu is said to do thorough QC checked of the brickwork, and Narathu would execute the masons if he could stick a pin between the bricks


After completing our tour, we asked Aye-Aye to show us the postcards that she was selling and also the George Orwell book ‘Burmese Days’… her asking price for the postcards were 3000K for a set of 10, this was higher then the regular price of 1000K but we agree that the quality was a bit better and we do have to pay for her tour-guide services- but whatever said and done , we are still Malaysians, so we had to bargain. The final price was 2,000K but I think she was rather disappointed with us for bargaining. The picture below is Aye Aye in a happier mood.( before the bargaining exercise)


After saying goodbye to Dhammayangyi, we head towards Thatbyinnyu- which was very noticeable and different from the other temple as it was in white . Thatbyinnyu was built in the mid 12th century by King Alaungsithu , this is said to be one of the earliest double-storey templesP1010566

There were many souvenirs stalls at the entrance of the temple and there were also many peddlers too, mostly young children, we were bombared with questions like  ‘where are you from?’ and some of them greeted us with ‘Ni hau ‘ , ‘Sawadee ka’  ‘are you from china ?’- and after hearing us talking in Mandarin – immediately, the prices of the souveniers were quote in Renminbi equivalent . I replied ‘ from Thailand’ to one of them and immediately, the prices were quoted in singsong Thai .. haha, these kids are clever

We entered the temple through the eastern door and were greeted by two colourful door guardians who were guarding the stairways.P1010567

Access to the stairways is now forbidden and we can only explore the ground floors.  P1010571

From the tiled floor- the temple looked like it has been restored but probably not in a proper manner as we saw modern looking  tiles of different colours lining the floors and some part of the walls were whitewashed.P1010572

From afar , this temple looked very grand and stood out amongst the other temple- but now that we were at the temple- it didn’t appear to be  as grand or intimidating  – I guess this is also due to that we could only walk around the ground floor and could not explore building . or maybe I was just hungry…P1010574

For lunch, we decided to have the Myanmar buffet ( again) – at another branch of the Golden Myanmar ( the restaurant that we had lunch the day before)- fried fish/fried chicken, stew fatty pork, curry chicken and mutton


This was followed by more dishes to fill our table , the additions were mostly vegetables and the various sauces and condiments plus a large plate of raw vegetable..P1010583