Mandalay

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

MANDALAY

Date: 2nd November 2016

A very very early wake up call in order to be at the Airport for our 6.40am flight to Mandalay which is a Showcase for Art and 19th Century Architecture.

We hit the ground running so to speak and were off to see the exceptional and revered Mahamuni Buddha covered in a thick layer of gold applied daily by male devotees.  The Buddha has been in place for over a hundred years and in that time has become so covered in gold that the features are no longer distinct - there are four pictures of the progression from the original to the gold encrusted Buddha of today.  Women aren't allowed into the inner sanctum but it is so large that we could see it very well from where we were allowed to stand.  Not only were we blinded by the gold but the columns were covered in squares and floral designs made from Jade.

And we were to hear the cry which became our Burmese guide's regular utterance 'Shoes Off' - one has to shed shoes at every Pagoda and you always find your shoes waiting for you at the end.

We visited a very interesting Craft workshop specialising in Burmese puppets, beautiful and intricate carvings and 'embroidered pictures' for want of a better word where the workers not only sew on the sequins but 'stuff' the figures with cotton wool to give a 3D effect.

We went to a workshop where they beat gold into the finest of fine 2 inch squares.  Just as Catholics light candles the Burmese buy these packets of gold leaf and 'paint' them on to the Buddhas as an act of devotion.  The gold beating was absolutely fascinating - and I imagine they've been doing it in the same way for hundreds of years.  There were three men all hammering in succession rather like bell ringers - and indeed the sound of the hammering did set up a rhythm.  They hammer for a half hour and then rest - it is hard work.  As I can only enter one photo per blog I'll try to find time to enter a few pictures into the gallery which might give you some idea of this complicated process.

In the afternoon we had a delightful Trishaw ride mostly along quiet country roads and lanes but occasionally taking our life into our hands and crossing the main highway.  The final leg of the journey was actually along the highway jostling for position with all the cars, trucks and scooters but our trishaw drivers were very accustomed to the traffic and weaved in and out with great success.  It was growing dark but we were still able to discern the outline of the 2 km wall surrounding the old Royal Palace.  It must have been incredibly impressive in its heyday.

The Mahamuni Buddha http://www.justyou,co.uk

MANDALAY

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