Friday, October 13, 2017

Buddha

Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country, with roots in Buddhism going back 2000 years. Theravada Buddhism is the dominant form practiced in the country (similar to Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand). 

In Theravada Buddhism, the image of the historical Buddha is very important. They show the Buddha as both a divine figure and as a human being, representing the embodiment of his teachings. 

A few minutes from our house is a reclining Buddha housed in the Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda (other spelling Kyaukhtatgyi).


The reclining Buddha is 230 feet long and has inscriptions on his feet of 108 auspicious symbols. 

Piper giving an offering / There are many other smaller statues and art works depicting Buddha's life in the temple



Also not far from our home is another beautiful temple, the Nga Htat Guy Pagoda, which houses a five story tall seated Buddha sitting against a very ornately carved wooden screen. 



Outside are two Chinthe statues, the protectors of the pagoda

Walking on the road leading up to the pagoda are many ornately carved gates. 



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Inle Lake, Myanmar (part 2)

The fishermen of Inle Lake have a unique way of fishing, they balance on one leg and use their other leg to row the boat. This leaves their hands free to deal with the net. It is really interesting to watch!


Floating gardens are found across the lake, growing mainly tomatoes, cucumbers, and gourds. To make the garden the farmer secures clumps of water hyacinth with bamboo poles and puts alternating layers of mud and additional hyacinth until the "island" is about three feet thick. Seeds are planted in the top layer of mud and the plants are supported by bamboo canes.


 Piper stealing a tomato



 We visited another textile store that weaves using the fibers from lotus plants. They told us that it takes nearly 4000 lotus plants to make one scarf (those scarves were not cheap!). They also weave beautiful fabrics using cotton and silk.



 Piper in a traditional Myanmar longyi.


 Metal workers




 The cheroot cigars of Myanmar come in a variety of flavors - Anis, banana, honey, tamarind. The ladies roll about 500 cigars a day.



 Bamboo lacquerware is also a tradition in Myanmar and we got an up close view of how the beautiful and elaborate pots and plates are made. 



 Serene lunch spot!



 The Hpaung Daw U Pagoda on Inle Lake is famous for its five Buddha statues that have over the years been covered in so much gold leaf by worshippers that the original forms can no longer be seen.


 Piper was much more interested in feeding the pigeons than checking out the temple.



 Inle Lake is really an amazing place! We can't wait to go back and explore some more!

Piper is in heaven anywhere there is a kitty for her to play with!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Inle Lake, Myanmar (part 1)

Back in July we visited Inle Lake in central Myanmar for a weekend. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar - 22km long and 10km wide - and home to the lake dwelling Intha people, who inhabit stilt villages and tend floating gardens.

We stayed at one of the hotels along the banks of the lake and spent three days exploring the lake via boat. Even though it was rainy season, it was quite a bit drier and cooler up at the lake, which allowed us to have a great time exploring and learning about the people native to the area.




 Stilt villages


 Silversmith


 A number of Buddhist pagodas and temples line the banks of the lake and canals. Many of them only accessible by boat. It is really amazing to float by these elaborate and ancient places. 





 A family of Padaung women live at Ywama village on Inle Lake. They create beautiful textiles. 



 We also visited a shop that makes beautiful paper umbrellas. Piper helped lay the flower petals on the paper fabric.

 A completed and dried piece of paper fabric.

 Making the handles / some finished products

At lunch Piper found a few friends!

 Back at the hotel we enjoyed the pool overlooking the lake and the fresh coconuts!



Lotus flower

Map of Inle Lake

More pictures coming up!