Off to Syriam for Half-day Tour: Part 2

PC200105.JPGDecember 20th:

Not to be outdone in style, propriety & magnificence, the gilded temples and pagodas of the sparkling Kyauktan Ye Le Pagoda (built under King Bawgasena) sit on an island atop an elevated brick terrace, accessible via a set of conical steps which lead up from a once-or-sometimes-existent strip of sandy beach depending on water levels.

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… Ben waiting waterside for our tourist-grade transport …

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…not the type of boats assigned to tourists …

While the locals may journey in open boats like gondolas, ours is more like a launch-type ferry with a blue tarpaulin strung overhead for shade, and little plastic chairs along the sides and a smattering of life jackets positioned like possible saviours above our heads.

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Of course there’s a wooden stool to help a foreigner get into the boat with dry feet at the riverside joining point, making for far more elegant boarding than for local women as they approach the small boats lined up on the bank.

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 … somewhat inelegant though dutifully supported … 

Concrete steps and other pilgrims greet us at the temple site …

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where we must first negotiate a path, bare-footed of course, around other visitors & locals already setting up family picnics in circular arrangements on shiny dappled tiles …

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… feeding hungry teenagers …

while others feed the impressive-sized catfish that poke open mouths through the surface of the water looking for the expected large chunks of food doled out by tourists & locals in equal measure.

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… hungry temple catfish … 

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… zooming in on a diligent local …

The temple complex contains several richly decorated structures with fine wood carvings and golden decorations topped with a multi-tiered, spired roof commonly found in Burmese royal and Buddhist architecture, especially pagoda compounds, monasteries and palace buildings.

‘We call such things, Pyatthat,’ says Lily. ‘The edges of each tier you may notice gold-gilded designs made of sheet metal, with decorative ornaments called du yin at the corners. Three-tiered, five-tiered and seven-tiered roofs are called yahma, thooba, and thooyahma, respectively. Before the British colonised Burma such tiering of the roof-lines were a prominent feature in the royal palaces, symbolizing Tavatimsa, a Buddhist heaven. Always above the main throne in the king’s primary audience hall was a seven-tiered pyatthat, with the tip representing Mount Meru and the lower six tiers representing the six adobes of the devas and of humans. ’

Traversing timbers suspended above the water, we visit a number of beautiful rooms & gather sufficient photos for memories alongside an abundance of other visitors & worshippers: families, couples & giggling girls keen to fill their phones with times spent clutching onto a foreigner.

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We pad our way through the place, taking in the beauty of the buildings & the people; noting the tallest pagoda with its golden spire and the large Buddha image residings at the centre of the terrace between two smaller Buddha images.

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capturing some super quirky shots of our silhouettes …

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with Ben in his Element … we find the compound hosts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and other fine demonstrations of Burmese Buddhist artwork and craftsmanship.

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We mill with a reasonable crowd waiting for the journey to the mainland with hungry crew capable of doling out a delicate arrangement of vegetables & meat for themselves, in company … before adding a dollop of cooked rice …

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to where drivers and a line of tourist buses wait near the busy marketplace for their customers to return. But it’s too sunny & hot, and much too overly-crowded & busy to involve ourselves too much in the perusal of typically-tourist merchandise.  And interesting prawn fritters, Myanmar style …

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though I consider the putchase of a pretty shade-giving hat  …

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We find our driver and bypass the National Races Village.

‘I would like to stop at the eye-catching temple I simply glimpsed before, with its huge Buddha image and separate stupa.’

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‘I’m not interested,’ says Ben; so he waits as I climb the stairs to explore the top section alone, running back to retrieve my camera from Miss Lily

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 … oops …

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 … Miss Lily to the rescue …

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after noting four quite quirky reclining or seated Buddhas positioned at the compass points… PC200148.JPG

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 … one of the decorative cardinal buddas …

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 … and the remaining image …

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 … exquisite patterning …

Back in the Toyota we drive towards our drop-off point, the Hotel K, again crossing the very long bridge built with the help of the Chinese, and quite fortuitously at the same time as a passenger train!

After flipping through some of the days forgotten snapshots of Kyaik-Khauk Paya …

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Kyaik-Khauk Paya

and farewelling Miss Lily with grateful smiles,

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we find Hotel K is a palace when compared to our last night’s accommodation. However though tastefully decorated we’re positioned in an internal room devoid of windows.

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Beyond any wishful thinking of dining on seafood, in the Hotel restaurant we order sufficiently satisfying Fried Rice & Mixed Vegetables plus spring rolls.

Yummy.

 

 

 

 

 

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