Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Myanmar: Into New Bagan and Ananda Pagoda

ananda paya floating buddhaWith a whole morning to spare before i ride the bus back to Yangon, I got another horse cart driver to go to Ananda Pagoda in New Bagan. O wouldn't want to repeat my previous experience of going on a pagoda tour because O want to spend time appreciating the pagoda, not zipping through stupas after stupas.

For a change, Ko Lin, my guide and horse cart rider is knowledgeable and hardworking. On board horse cart no. 117, we chit-chatted about New Bagan and I quickly appreciated what this friendly young man, is willing to share.ananda paya groundsI chose the Ananda Temple since it is considered the most important pagoda here and often, the recommended starting point for most visitors.C ompleted in 1091, the temple is considered to be the oldest surviving masterpiece of Mon architecture. The temple has four main halls, each with a vestibule with niches containing a 31 foot teak Buddha image. The Buddhas each face a different direction - Gautama, the west; Karushandha, the north; Konagamana, the east; and Lassapa, the south. Only the north and south images are originals, the other two are replacements for those ruined by thieves. Looking up, the roof with 389 terracotta glazed tiles make the temple distinct with the largest collection of terracotta tiles seen in any temple in Bagan.ananda paya chinthes on the roofI wandered into the darkened corridors as people continue to stream into the temple, appreciating the niches where Buddha images seem to hover above eye level into the ceiling. I maybe Catholic but i do appreciate the calm, the serenity of the temple, its labyrinths and halls pervaded by the smell of incense, the murmur of prayers, and the offering of good intentions.
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