March 6, 2014
OMG, it's so early. I'm not feeling too well. I wonder if it was that candy bar I had last night? We stumble out of our room and meet U Than at the front of the hotel at 5:30 am to catch the SUNRISE. We have our flashlight and U Than has one too. It's very dark out. The walk is about 5 minutes and then we climb up a path that is steep. This takes me around 10-15 minutes. At the summit of this hill you see nothing but black. Now we just wait. Soon another couple is there so now it's just the 5 of us. The sun starts to rise. You can see mist or fog rising up from the ground around the temples we are viewing. It's really cool. I take pictures that I think look ok. Looking the opposite direction you can see some huts/houses and people walking around tending to their fires, etc. The town is fully waking up now. We head back to the hotel and I'm sick but not like an intestinal problem-more respiratory. Maybe all the dust I've inhaled since arriving in Myanmar/Burma is catching up with me. I don't like to wear the face masks which I'm probably paying for now. For breakfast I opt for tea and toast. I'm feeling better. We meet U Than and our driver at 7:30 am. We are going to MAHAMUNI and then VESALI/WETHALI.
|It's getting lighter|
|This is the path/stairs we went up to see the sunrise|
Walking back we pass a couple of other hotels that look pretty nice. We walk over the bridge and now that it's light I can see that even though it looks not so sturdy it is. We see people up and out.
|We arrive at Mahamuni shortly after we pass through this.|
|\We have arrived and the entrance to Mahamuni is on the left and lots of shops on the right selling all manner of stuff.|
|All the columns are red and gold with different scenes on them.|
|Walkway going back down|
|Original brick wall|
|Can buy fruit from one of the stands across the street from Mahamuni.|
|View of Mahamuni from across the street.|
|Leaving Mahamuni we drive through the same arch|
|Working on a new rail line|
|Remains of palace and walls|
|King of Wethali and his Queen but I've forgotten their names.|
|Hsu Taung Pye-Great Buddha image of Vesali|
|Old statues at Wethali/Vesali|
We arrive back to our hotel around 12 noon agian for a lunch/rest break. U Than will pick us up at 4:00 pm.
I rested again and my husband went for another walk. Before you know it, it's time to meet U Than. I only have one request. To see SANDAMUNI.
SANDAMUNI Located on a hilltop. Peace and calm here. If I remember correctly I think that in 123 A.D. Gautama Buddha visited Mahamuni. 9 images made from donations from 9 kings, one which is in Mahamuni and one which is here. It was covered in concrete to protect it from the British invaders and rediscovered in 1988 by a Sandamuni monk who was cleaning when an eye dropped out from the image. The monk looked at the eye hole and saw the brass underneath. The image was uncovered.
|Stairs from our sunrise viewing this morning|
|We have to park down below and walk up|
|Sandamuni Buddha image-behind glass|
U Than takes us to a beautiful lake where people come to get water. I think this is LETSAYKAN LAKE. There is also a building here where they can get water. A small temple. Old city gate and walls-LETSAYKAN GATE. Then we stop in a small village and just walk around. We stop at one home where we see a woman weaving fans from dried palm leaf strips. I buy 2 small ones at 500k each.
|Bringing back water|
|Letsaykan-once one of the main gates to the city.|
|Very peaceful here|
|Another view of the original gate|
|Ancient walls and gate|
|Cashew nut tree|
|Making fans from dried palm leaf strips|
|Materials for restoration work|
|One head, 2 bodies stacked on top of each other|
|There are 2 different kinds of roofs on the houses. This kind has bamboo strips.|
|Chop suey soup with chicken|
One of the hotel staff wants to know if he can hitch a ride to Sittwe on our boat tomorrow. Fine with us. I have him call U Than who then confirms it's ok by speaking to my husband. We will leave at 6:00 am. Groan.........
Here's a map I found that has the pagodas/temples, etc. on it. Maybe it will be useful to others.