Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Bago (Pegu): The Enchanting Gaung Say Kyan Paya

I was getting excited when Min-U announced that we are going to Gaung Say Kyan Paya. According to Lonely Planet, we have to cross a bridge over a lake to get there. When I saw it across the lake, I thought how enchanting this little temple is. It lies hidden among the trees and the rest of the world. R and I were so awed by its view that only our ahhs and whoas could express this.

We didn't quite know where to go when we reached the end of the bridge. We searched for the temple building amidst the trees and found a flight of mouldy green stairs, which we thought we could take and as we had our first step, the temple sprung into view. It looked like a old Malay kampung house from the times of Hang Tuah. This is my favourite temple among all the temples I've visited in and around Yangon. It's uniquely strategic location as well as abandonment from civilisation made it so private and precious. I like!!

Suddenly, a monk came running across the bridge and overtook us before disappearing to a nearby house. He reappeared this time and headed towards the temple. It seemed that the temple was locked and he had just unlocked it for us. He spoke no English at all and ushered us to enter. The temple hall is small and dark with some light coming from the small shuttered windows. He beckoned us to take photos with his hand gestures. I took a few photos of the buddha statues inside. What a jewel this place is though the interior was not impressive. I nodded politely to thank the monk. He looked happy to see us and brought us to the side of the temple where an old mouldy cement building stood. Inside were inscriptions written all over the walls and the middle stone slab. As I held my camera up for a shot of the beautiful mouldy structure, the monk, who was about to move somewhere, stood still as though for a photo. For the second shot, I included him in the photo. I wish I could talk to him because I felt his kindness and genuineness. I tried to but his replies were in the forms of pointing gestures and smiles.

From this visit, it was evident that a lot of the temples do get abandoned because they do not receive enough donations for revival. There are simply too many of them. I suppose it also makes these temples more revered for their beauty in all their gaudiness.

Construction of a bridge was attempted but left uncompleted with the remains of the large cement stilts still standing.

Gaung Say Kyan Paya by the lake

Entrance of the temple

Inside the temple. It only looks bright because of the slow shutter speed setting.

Green mouldy balustrade

Monk locking up the temple after our visit

Monk standing next to a small pavilion of inscriptions

Earlier, we were lost when we got to the end of the bridge

Ducks swimming in the lake

Next to the wooden bridge were cement pillars to hold a probable bridge

On our way out, I caught a man sleeping under a hut

A wooden house in the vicinity

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