Saturday, 17 October 2009

Yangon: Shwedagon Paya

After our visit to the clinic, it had started pouring. We mumbled to Min-U about taking us to dinner instead of heading to Shwedagon Paya since we would not be able to tour around the pagoda in the pouring rain. Our request might have been inaudible to Min-U for we found the car climbing up the slopes on which Shwedagon Paya sits. Since 9am, we've been going all over Yangon and I believed Min-U must be exhausted from driving us around. So, I left him to drive us to the upcoming destination despite the heavy rain. We were dropped off at the ticketing booth instead of the entrance where we would have to climb up many flight of stairs before reaching the ticketing booth. All the while, R had thought that we were going to a restaurant until she saw the first Buddha statue. I had asked a lady at the ticketing counter if she could borrow us an umbrella so that we could still move around in the rain. And, she had kindly arranged us to have one.

We took the elevator and arrived at the bridge that leads to the pagoda. The attendant at the lift was so kind to place a stool for R to sit while the elevator was ascending. Everyone who worked at the temple were really helpful towards us when they saw R's difficulty with movement.

With some difficulty, we opened up the umbrella and started to tour around under the heavy rain. I was happy that we arrived at a bridge upon stepping out of the elevator. The bridge led us to the pavilion near the Banyan Tree. The tree grew from a branch of the actual, original tree under which Gautama Buddha had received enlightenment. Here, a golden Buddha statue sits under its pavilion. The worshipers would come with a jug of water and splash water at the back of the tree.

The rain was extremely heavy and we were getting wet. We retreated to the Sandawdwin Tazaung (small pavilion) for shelter and waited for the rain to stop. There were three Buddha statues at this pavilion and a cemented basin which looked like a foot print. While I was wandering around in the pavilion, a man approached me and started explaining about the significance of this pavillion. With today's early morning experience of a false guide, I politely smiled at him and took my leave.

When the rain finally stopped, we left the pavilion. As I was stepping out of the pavilion, I slipped and fell with my knee crashing onto the hard concrete floor. This had alarmed the people at the pavilion. How embarrassing!

Visiting Shwedagon Paya at night turned out to be a great idea! With the rain stopped and a gentle cool breeze passing through, it was a peaceful yet momentous experience. We took our time, taking small steps so as not to slip, again in my case. I like the feeling of walking barefooted. It made me feel more in touch with the ambiance and spirituality of this place. Occasionally, a few monks came to talk to us but after the day's experience, I had turned into a rather rude and petty tourist who'd walked away the moment I saw them approaching, which I now regret for we might have had the opportunity to exchange more learning experiences. Sigh.

Buddha statue under the Banyan Tree

Buddha statue at Sandawdwin Tazaung

Ivory white shrine with many Buddha statues

Surrounding the pagoda were shrines that house Buddha statues

Shwedagon Pagoda with one of the adoration halls

I found this adoration hall to be the prettiest amongst the four

On both sides of each adoration hall are planetary posts for different planets and each has their own animal sign

Shwedagon Paya and the many shrines that have casted a reflection on the puddles of rain water

A Buddha statue in one of the pavilion

My blue-black knee

No comments: