After visiting and photographing the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, and feeling more satisfied with ourselves, having done one of the things we had set out to do, we decided to walk back over the U Bein bridge.
The bridge is said, at around 1200 metres long, to be the longest teak bridge in the world, and was built by a mayor of the city of the same name from left-overs when the Palace was removed to Mandalay.
The bridge was OK, but what it did more than anything else was give us a chance to see the beautiful Taungthaman Lake and take an easy and pleasant stroll back to the other side.
U Bein Bridge
Old Tamarind Trees
When we got to the other side of the bridge it was time for our dāna, so we decided to have it sitting alongside the lake – what better place could there be? The driver would now allow it, he knew a much better place just 5 minutes away.
It wasn’t 5 minutes away but 20 minutes away and he wouldn’t let us stop to get water on the way, even though I was on the point on dehydration, perhaps fearing we wouldn’t go with him to his eaterie.
Eventually we arrived at a road-side cafe, where we could eat our lunch and get covered in dust from the passing traffic at the same time. Having missed out on his gold-leaf commission and his Buddha statue commission, and who knows? maybe his pindapata commission also, he most certainly wasn’t going to forsake his lunch.
Inwa Lake and Pagoda
After lunch we caught the short boat ride to the other side of the shore, which is where Inwa, previously called Ava, was situated. Then we took a horse and buggy round the various sites, but, apart from the teak-built Bagaya Temple, they were not so interesting.
It was very hot and tiring traveling by buggy and by the time we had chased round half-a-dozen pagodas I had had enough for the day. Not that the day had had enough of me, because afterwards we sped off for Sagaing Hill.
Now Sagaing if another of those places that deserves a day for itself, but we arrived dishevelled and distraught around 3.00 in the afternoon, with no energy left, and so just went to the top of the hill to see the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, which had some nice mosaics and some fine, even if misty, views out over the Ayerwaddy River and Mandalay.
But I was hardly in a position to appreciate it, being half-dead on my feet. So we eventually made our way back to the Teik in Mandalay and counted our lucky stars we had made it through the gruelling heat of the day.
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- Photoshoot at Cave Temples and the Sanchi Stupas in India, 2017
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