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11/13/09
Falling in love with Myanmar: Hidden beauty of the world Story and Pictures Ganga ILLEPERUMA Recent visit to Myanmar-Mayawati for making Noida best city-Maya defends statues of SC/ST icons
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Falling in love with Myanmar: Hidden beauty of the world


Kyaikhtiyo pagoda

Myanmar,
formerly known as Burma, is the Land of Human Origin. It is also
recognised as the Golden Land. Compared with other countries Myanmar is
not a tourists destination per se but has many magnificent and exciting
excursions in all part of the country.

People with a basic
knowledge of the culture and custom of Myanmar will find it easy to
live with its citizens and leave in the same fashion. Though Myanmar
social customs are quite flexible, the ground rules are important for
convivial inter change.

The country is a union of 135 ethnic
groups with their own languages and dialects. The major races are the
Kachin, the Kayah, the Kayin, the Chin, the Mon, the Bamar, the
Rakhine, and the Shan. The name Myanmar embraces all the ethnic groups.


Shwedagon Pagoda

Architecture and arts

It
is the architecture that one sees as the strongest evidence of Burmese
artistic skills and craftsmanship. Burmese buildings take two basic
forms - pagodas and temples. Traditionally only the latter have been
made of permanent materials; monasteries and all secular buildings
were, until recently, constructed of wood, and thus, only few
non-religious buildings of former times remain to be visited.

Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon
Pagoda is the most popular and well-known pagoda in Yangon and is the
most notable building in this city. This pagoda is one of the main
tourist destinations in Myanmar. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a great
cone-shaped Buddhist monument that crowns a hill about one mile north
of the Cantonmen Pagodas are found almost everywhere in the country in
big numbers. All pagodas, however, have in common a bell-shaped
structure, which in later centuries was erected on top of a foundation.
Temples are constructed mainly to house images of the Buddha. The walls
are often decorated with beautiful paintings depicting episodes from
the lives of the Buddha.


Mandalay Palace

Maha Wizaya Pagoda

The
pagoda itself is a solid brick stupa (Buddhist reliquary) that is
completely covered with gold. It rises 326 feet (99 m) on a hill 168
feet (51 m) above the city. There are 4 entrances leading into the base
of this Shwedagon Pagoda and we entered from the Southern entrance.

Sule Pagoda

Sule
Pagoda is located in Yangon, at the junction of Sule Pagoda Road and
Mahabandoola Road, Kyauktada Township, Yangon, Myanmar. The Sule Pagoda
is an excellent landmark. It is said to be over 2,000 years old. The
pagoda is said to enshrine a hair of the Buddha: its Mon name, Kyaik
Athok translates as the pagoda where a Sacred Hair Relic is enshrined.

Mandalay the second capital city of Myanmar still
retains its old cultural traditions and is the centre of attractions
for its historical heritage. It is well-known and for the presence of
significant monastries, pagosdas, temples and religious edifices.

Pahtodawgyi


Sales in a floating market - Inle Lake

It
is one of the famous buildings in the world which was built by King
Bodawpaya. The building of Mingun Pahtodawgyi started in 1790. Had it
been completed it would have reached a height of some 500 feet but it
was stopped at 162 feet height. Its girth is about 450 square feet.
When he was building this temple astrologies told him ˜If you finish
build this temple you will miss the crown. So the king stopped that
construction. The pagoda was left unfinished.

Two enormous
prominent statues of lions in Mingun, one of the tourist attractions is
at the eastern stairway of Pahtodawgyi which faces the Ayeyawaddy
river. You can climb the top and from there, you can also enjoy the
natural beauty of the Ayeyawady river. If this pagoda had been
completed, then it would have been the largest monument. This
unfinished structure was damaged with cracks left by the earthquake of
1838 but it is still the largest brick base in the world.

Mingun Bell

King
Bodawpaya dedicated a big bronze bell near the Pahtodawgyi but it is
said that Buddhist devotees inserted gold, silver ornaments and
jewellery into the bronze. The Bell measures eleven cubits and four
thits (fingers) in diameter at its mouth; 33 cubits, one mit (6 inches)
and four thits in circumference and 13 cubits, one mit and four thits
in height. It weighs 55555 viss.


Mahagandar Yow

Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda

The
Kuthodaw Pagoda is often called the world’s largest book which has 729
pages on stone scripts. It is a large walled complex situated at the
base of the southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill and it was built by
King Mindon in 1872. It is in this place that the king held sangayanawa
and there were 2,400 monks came from throughout the country and they
completed the pages during six months.

Than Buddha Pagoda

This
temple is very similar to the Borobudur temple in Indonesia. The famous
monk who lived in this area called Monyin Sayadaw built this temple in
1939- 1952. Inside this temple we could see 580,000 Buddha statues and
we could buy new statues and replaced them. There are 7000 relics and
many other precious materials enshrined here said Nway U Khine, our
guide of Travelonthat accompanied us.

Mahamuni

The
Maha Muni Pagoda was built to enshrine the Maha Muni image, nearly 13
ft(4m) high. It is covered with so much gold leaf that its body has
lost all proportion. Only the face, washed during the ceremony each
dawn, is not allowed to be gilded. Women are not allowed to go near the
Buddha image.


The woman takes her yield

U Pein bridge

The
teakwood bridge spans 1.2 km across the shallow Taungthaman Lake some
10km south of Mandalay. It was built by U Pein in the mid-19th century
when the capital of Innwa (Ava) Kingdom moved to the nearby Amarapura.

Today,
even though a few of the 1,000 teakwood posts have been replaced by
concrete, the bridge remains intact and serves as the main passage
indispensable to the daily life of the local people.

Mandalay Palace

Mandalay
Palace was the first palace to be built in Mandalay, by King Mindon
when he shifted his capital from Amarapura in 1861. All ancillary
buildings for the court, the fortified high walls with ramparts, the
moat, water systems, roads, gardens with shady tamarind trees,
recreational playgrounds, swimming pools, security ports with infantry
and audience halls etc. The palace was burnt down during World War II
by the British and today only the city walls are original. They are 2km
on each side. The present palace is rebuilt by the military government
taking after the model of the old one. Now the palace site is occupied
by the military.


Laksha Industry

Gold Leaf

The
square gold leaf tissues used for centuries and fragile enough that a
breath of the softest wind could crumble them are all hand made in the
lovely ancient capital of Mandalay. Only 24 carat gold is used. The
gold leaf is so thin and light that to smooth out wrinkles, the girls
just blow gently on it. The gold leaf is a sacred thing and can be
offered to religious buildings, and shrines or for Royal use in the
days of monarchy.

Pindaya Caves

The
Pindaya caves are a limestone ridge overlooking the Pindaya Lake
housing nine thousand Buddha images made from alabaster, teak, marble,
brick, lacquer and cement which have been put there centuries ago and
arranged in such a way as to form a labyrinth through the various cave
chambers.

The cave is million years old and Pindaya means spider.
The legend says seven princesses bathed in the lake and they took a
rest in this cave. At that time the cave was blocked by a huge spider
and the princesses shouted for help. Then the prince who came to the
forest for hunting heard the crying and killed the spider by his arrow.

Later
the prince got married to the youngest princess and lived happily ever
after. Entering the cave we could see the images according to the
legends of the spider and the prince with an arrow. There are two
ancient stupas in this cave. One is from the 3rd century and the second
from the12th century.

Inle Lake

Myanmar
has its share of magical destinations and among them Inle Lake is one
of the most captivating. It is frequently cited by visitors to Myanmar
as the highlight of their entire trip.

The people of Inle Lake
(called Intha), some 70,000 of them, live in four cities bordering the
lake, in numerous small villages along the lake’s shores, and on the
lake itself. The population consists predominantly of Intha, with a mix
of other Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O (Taungthu), Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar
ethnicities. Most are devout Buddhists, and live in simple houses of
wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient
farmers.

Most
transportation on the lake is traditionally by small boats, or by
somewhat larger boats fitted with outboard motors. Local fishermen are
known for practising a distinctive rowing style which involves standing
at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar.

This
unique style was evolved for the reason that the lake is covered with
reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while
sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds.
However, the leg rowing style is practised only by men. Women row in
the customary style, using the oar with their hands, sitting cross
legged at the stern.

Floating farm Inle Lake is a major tourist attraction, and this has led to
some development of tourist infrastructure.

They
have floating gardens and tomato industry is their main income. Apart
from these industries we could also see weaving centres and cigar
manufacture also.

Kyaikhtiyo pagoda

Kyaikhtiyo
pagoda is located in the small town called Kyaikhto, in the Mon State.
The pagoda is also known as the golden rock. The meaning of Kyaik Hti
Yo : According to Mon tradition, the name is a corruption of
Kyaiki-thi-yo being derived as follows.

Since we couldn’t reach
there by coach we went by truck to the villages and on the final part
to the top of the mountain we had to go by palanquin. The strong boys
in this village make palanquins and they carry all foreigners to the
top and it is their main income also.

It is located on top of mount Kyaiktiyo at 1102 meters above sea level is recognized as one of the wonders of South East Asia.

It
can also be qualified as one of the wonders of the world by virtue of
its unique position atop a gilded boulder which is delicately balanced
on the edge of the sloping surface of a separate rock table, the slope
dropping perpendicularly into the valley below.



Message from President Sri Lanka Myanmar Friendship Assoc.

As
the President of Sri Lanka Myanmar Friendship Association, I am happy
and honoured to send a congratulatory message on His Excellency Senior
General Than Shew the Head of Stateof Myanmar visit to Sri Lanka.
Myanmar and Sri Lanka have maintained close religious and cultural ties
for nearly a thousand years since the 11thcentury when Sinhala monks
began to playa key role in disseminating the Theravada form of Buddhism
in Myanmar.

When
in the 18thand 19thcenturies with the decline of Buddhism after the
devastation caused by the Portuguese, sections of the Sri Lankan Sangha
expressed interest in receiving Higher Ordination independent of Siam
Nikaya, Myanmar Sangha and the royalty readily came to our help.

The Amarapura Nikaya and Ramanna Nikaya were thus formed in Sri Lanka.

These
two monastic lineages contributed immensely to the enrichment of
educational, cultural and religious conditions in Sri Lanka and later
to the world-wide international Buddhist movement.

The Myanmar
President’s visit will herald a new era of bringing the already
existing ties of the two countries to a new height, especially in
religious and cultural sectors. Religious and cultural tourism is an
area that should be promoted in order to create a better people to
people understanding between our two countries. Our Association will be
happy to give our utmost support to such aninitiative.

- Kumara Semage


Mayawati for making Noida best city



— Photos: Shanker Chakravarty





NEW LINK: Union Minister for Urban Development S.
Jaipal Reddy and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit flag off a Delhi
Metro train from the Akshardham station to Noida City Centre station,
in New Delhi on Thursday. (Right) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati
flags off the Metro train at the Noida station. Delhi Metro Rail
Corporation Chairman E. Sreedharan is seen to her right.

NOIDA: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday hailed the
Delhi Metro’s maiden journey into Noida as a step that will bring the
suburb on a par with the developed cities of the world.

Flagging off the first metro train from Noida, Ms. Mayawati said it
will not only make commuting easier, but also go a long way in
improving the economic and employment avenues here.

The Chief Minister also chose the occasion to reiterate her demand
for clearance of the proposed international airport at Jewar in Greater
Noida. “I have already written to the Union government on the issue
several times and I urge them to sanction the airport soon to develop
this area speedily.”

Ms. Mayawati made an oblique reference to her government’s
assistance in timely completion of the Noida line. “After coming to
power, we gave special instructions to the Noida Development Authority
to release the required money to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
[DMRC]. I appreciate that the Noida Development Authority paid about
Rs.557 crore, more than two-third amount of the total cost to the DMRC
for completion of this project,” she said.

The government was keen on extending the metro service to the rest
of the State, starting with more parts in Noida and Greater Noida, she
asserted.

“Noida will have the best infrastructure to make it one of the best
cities of the world. My government has been providing Rs.2,000 crore
every year for the development of infrastructure to ensure that Noida
is counted among the best cities,” she said.

Maya defends statues of SC/ST icons



STAFF WRITER 18:12 HRS IST


Noida (UP), Nov 12 (PTI) Unfazed by ongoing cases in the Supreme Court


on the issue, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today said the


controversial memorial for B R Ambedkar and BSP founder Kansi Ram


being built here was a symbol of respect for the SC/ST icons who


fought against injustice.




“Keeping in mind the sentiments of the people of western UP, a


memorial is being constructed here as a mark of a respect for great


leaders and saints who have fought throughout their lives against


inequality and casteism,” Mayawati said.




She also charged successive governments in the state with “ignoring”


the contribution of such people.




The BSP chief was speaking to the media after inaugurating the


extension of Delhi Metro service to Noida.

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