Today’s schedule was overambitious, too much sightseeing and not enough cycling. Alex, the tour leader is desperate to deliver all the visits, but knew that it couldn’t be done
in the time, so reduced the cycling
from 50km to 20km and increased the amount of bus time. I can understand
why he did it, but clearly someone at Exodus needs to have another look at
the schedule. To add insult to injury, we also arrived late at the hotel which
was one of the best on the trip.
The day started very early with another visit to U Bein Bridge near Mandalay to try and catch a sunrise. The sun was a little later than anticipated (can the sun be late?) and this put us behind schedule.
|The world's tallest standing Budda|
|Christine, the biggest standing Buddha in the world and |
After a coach ride out of Mandalay we cycled to the Boditahtaung Pogoda and visited the world’s largest reclining Buddha and the world’s largest standing Buddha. These statues were built in the 1990s and, if nothing else, demonstrate that Buddhism as a religion is alive and kicking and donors are willing to spend lots of money constructing new and ever bigger statues. Of course the only thing that distinguishes these statues is their size as standing and reclining Buddhas are built to a strict code.
|Overtaking an overloaded motorbike|
Repetition is an even stronger feature at the Thanbodday Pogada at Monywar which we visited next. Built in the late 1930s on the site of a 13th Century Hindu temple (and partly funded by the manufacturers of Tiger Balm) the building is multi-
and totally over the top.
Situated in little alcoves, inside and outside the building, are 582,357
identical plaster of coloured style statues (images) of the Buddha, very strange. paris
Leaving our bikes, the final visit of the day involved a long bus ride to the
Win Taung, a complex contains 947 richly decorated
caves. Carved into a sandstone outcrop and dated Po and 18th
centuries it contains numerous carved Buddha statues and mural paintings. The
site is also full of monkeys who, as the sun set, generated a frankly
intimidating cacophony of sound. to between the 14th
|Murals at |
The landscape around the
Win Taung is very dry, almost desert like, and in
the early evening a little spooky. A nearby mountain was gradually being
removed by a Chinese copper mining company. It’s a controversial development
and it, and the Chinese, are not universally popular locally. In a
recent protest police fired into a crowd, killing one protester and injuring 4