Friday, May 15, 2009

Myanmar: Bypassing the old pagodas of New Bagan for the hills of Tuyin Taung

tuyin taung sunsetI got back from Mt. Popa by lunchtime and even though i had to bear with the 30,000kyats expense (discounted from the originally-quoted 35,000kyats), I had to take on the horse cart rental I paid for in advance the previous day. Since I paid for a whole day's tour (12,000kyats or $12), I revised my destination from New Bagan (only 7 kms. away from Nyaung U) to Tuyin Taung (27 kms. away) on the tip I got from an acquaintance I made in Shwezigon Pagoda.

To compound my day's woes, I got assigned to a very lazy driver (whose name I'm not going to mention). First, he complained about not having lunch (so I gave him 1,000kyats so he can drive on a full stomach). Then, he made a stopover midway our trip so he can rest while his cousin attempts to sell me stones with jade on them. Tsk, tsk. (Later, he would ask me for an extra 1,000kyats to which i really said no in no uncertain terms).After over an hour, we see hills rising above the plains. The Tuyin Taung Pagoda overlooks the Ayeyarwaddy River bank of Bagan.I n contrast to the other pagodas I visited earlier, the hills are practically desserted save for two men on bikes. Statues line up the hills leading to the pagoda where I see a family paying a visit.tuyin taung stupaThe main stupa is resplendent in the afternoon sun, the floor still hot to my bare feet. Iwander to the steps descending to a deck with a breathtaking view of the nearby hills, the dry plains bathed in golden light.I  waited for a glorious sunset but alas, the dusty air obscured any opportunity to see the fading sun kiss the earth. For a while, I wondered if I should've stayed in Bagan but then again, I thought I didn't mind going to this rather more obscure pagoda. This wasn't a textbook trip and maybe, I'm just following a different script altogether. 

Info: The Tuyin Taung Pagoda was build in AD 1059 by King Anawrahta. One of the Buddha's tooth relic donated by King Vizaraba of Sri Lanka was embedded in a place inside the pagoda. • the best way to go here is via motorcycle rental from Nyaung U or Bagan


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