Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Myanmar: Catching the sunrise at Maha Muni

maha muni sunriseThere were two stopovers during our 12-hour bus ride to Mandalay but I hardly remembered them save for making the obligatory alighting off the bus for dinner and post-midnight snacks. Then it's back to dreamland again. The bus resembles the ones plying EDSA, only older, but they were comfy and cool enough considering older traveler accounts that tell of non-aircon buses with hard seats.

It wasn't light yet when we arrived in Mandalay.  By then, I made up my mind to go straight to Bagan on the first bus I can get on so I can reach the farthest point in my itinerary and work my way back to Yangon according to bus skeds and availability.
maha muni sunrise peaksBy luck, I bumped into friendly Cho Gyi who offered to help me get an 8.30am bus ride to Bagan. Meanwhile, he gave me an idea of visiting the Maha Muni Pagoda because it was still early. Good thing really as we caught the sun rising above the edifices across the pond of Maha Muni. It's an edifying experience witnessing the sun being born again in the horizon, draping the pagodas with increasing luminosity.maha muni worshippersThe Maha Muni Pagoda is considered the most important religious structure in Mandalay. Cho Gyi likens it to the Shwedagon in Yangon in terms of iconic and religious significance. it is located around 3 kilometers south of the city center. The original pagoda was built in 1784, razed by fire a century after, and rebuilt later.

The much-revered Maha Muni figure which is 12 feet in height, has seen an interesting changing of hands -- it was taken as booty when the king of Bagan conquered part of Rakhaing in the 11th century but recovered by a force of 30,000 soldiers in 1784. Cast in metal, the statue is now covered with layers of gold leaf several centimeters thick -- a testament to how well venerated this statue is. 

Info: the Maha Muni Pagoda is open to tourists from 6am-8pm • entrance fee: $4

7 comments:

the donG said...

never heard of maha muni and it's indeed a great time to have captured it with the rising sun. i try to imagine the bus that's old but comfortable.

Lawstude said...

the sunrise is spectacular. ang ganda rin kasi ng foreground nya. great shot as always bai.

lagal[og] said...

dom, the buses in myanmar are older than the ones plying edsa but i wouldn't want to complain since they serve their purpose. this is a big improvement over the buses in older travel stories where airconditioning is absent and the seats are hard to the back.

oman, thanks. that's my guide-acquaintance, cho gyi looking at the sunrise.

Photo Cache said...

12-hour bus ride????

always wonderful to read your travel accounts.

Ferdz said...

Ganda ng first pic. Kakaiba rin talaga yung sunrise dyan. And it's great that you were able to meet a helpful guide like Cho Gyi to show the place around

Reena said...

ahhhh...galing.

where do ou get your facts? :)

word verif: mulan.

is mulan chinese?

lagal[og] said...

amigo, i guess it's the lattitude kasi nakita ko rin yung laos images mo, the sun seems to assume this roundish quality as it goes up or down the horizon. suwerte rin that i seem to attract my share of good people to guide me around.

reena, thanks for dropping by. i cull my info from different sources like guidebooks and the net. regarding mulan, i think there's a chinese poem "the ballad of mulan" from which the movie was loosely based.

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