Bagan, Myanmar is like a Disneyland for adults and I loved every minute of it from the sun that attacked us from above, to the dusts that encircled us and through the bumpy horse carriage rides. One word…AMAZING!
We hired a horse carriage guide to bring us to various temples throughout the region. He was able to carry all three of us through the dirt roads.
If you like history but not the type when you are coup up in 4 walls of a museum, I’d suggest taking the time to explore Bagan.
The history of Bagan goes something like this…it was the center capital of a mighty kingdom. It was customary that families built symbols of their devotion to Buddhism. There was a period of time that thousands of temples, pagodas, stupas were built that dotted the landscapes. In fact over 4,000 temples exist today that jut out from the arid once lush jungle. A definite sight to be seen during sunrise, sunset or any time during the day.
The place was abandoned for centuries when local timber and water became scarce. It was recently that the government began a push in restoring these historical landmarks for future generations or profit. Some of the work is abismal but many temples are kept by locals who have guarded and protect these shrines for generations.
We made a deal to wake up early in the morning one day and stay up till sunset another to experience the landscape in its glory. It was definitely worth every second waiting for that sun to rise or set. I sat there on the edge of one of the temples staring towards the setting sun and I was just lost not in thought. “If religion or philosophy can inspire man to build such amazing things, we have to ask ourselves why do we use religion or philosophical differences to justify wars?”
I have never seen so many temples in my life and was able to go in a few of them. I think it would take me years to explore this entire region. There was definitely something spiritual about this place. You can’t help but be compelled to sit down and meditate and let the thoughts come and go and become aware of your own existence.
I realized that people were not praying to these buddha statues but reminding or visualizing themselves achieving a buddha state. There is something beautiful about knowing that one can attain enlightenment.
The sun was setting while we were in one of the larger temples. The rock facade in the setting sun looked like it was glowing. I stared, paused for what seemed like an eternity until Jae, touches my shoulder to let me know it was time to head back.