Sagaing

April 17, 2016

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Sagaing, the ancient buddhist retreat. A holy city stepped into the mountainous side of the Ayerwaddy river. Glittering golden in the afternoon sunshine.

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One of the most atmospheric places that we visited in the whole country, you can really feel the reverence of the people that live here. It’s a pilgrim destination, it has a buddhist university, people come here from far and wide to study the way of the monk and the nun.

We arrived in the city late afternoon so we dumped our backpacks in the hotel, which was one of only two with a foreigner license, they met us with a practically local politician service and smiles to match. We wandered a few back streets down by the mighty river and came across many temples in the fading golden light.

One of them had an incredible example of scaffolding, Asian style.

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They make it with bamboo lashed together with rope made out of coconut husk.

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We watched these fellas walk all the way down from the top.

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We tried to find a refreshing beer by the river side but the one place that was there seemed a bit shady. In any case the view was best from the road.

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Here’s the buddhist university seen from the tallest hill in Sagaing. The great big dome is recognisable from most places.

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Looking over the countryside you really get a sense of how holy this place is, how many glittering spires that nestle in-between the green.

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And towards the mighty Irrawaddy river.

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The monks and nuns are constantly walking the streets of Sagaing. You see their deep crimson robes if they’re monks, or pink robes if they’re nuns.

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Of course, some people are special.

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Mainly we climbed stairs to see the temples at the tops of the hills.

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They kept us busy for a while! We chatted to monks who stopped us wanting to talk English, looked at some of the EPIC temple animals here, and generally contemplated.

Chinthe are everywhere here.

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This one is special because there’s only one of them guarding the gate to the temple. There’s usually always two chinthe in this circumstance.

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We were rewarded for climbing a thousand steps by some fantastically stunning buddhas.

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Absolutely serene, really inspires you to be mindful.

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Made of solid marble!

Another special place that hides in the city is.

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Saves me spelling that. Now, it can be quite difficult to get the key to see inside these cavess but make sure you do, it’s out and down the hill, turn right, past the buddhist university and take the left at the archeological society. You pay them an entrance ticket and two guys will come with you to open up the caves. They were so proud of the paintings inside and it’s easy to see why!

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These are ancient paintings, thousands of years old.

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Well worth the hassle to find the key.

We really enjoyed wearing longjis, the national dress of Myanmar, and joining the pilgrims of Sagaing in their steps of worship. What a special place.

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