Bago is one of the major (#4 in Myanmar) cities in Burma,also known under her former name "Pegu".You have to pass Pegu /Bago on the way from Kayktio to Yangon, where you can also visit an impressive cashew nut plantation and the nearby Buddhist boys and girls orphanage (very much to be recommended !) and also a rubber tree plantation. In Bago there is an interesting Market with varieties of vegetables, flower and commodity goods. Above all, there are 3 pagodas to be visited:, the Shwethalyaung Pagoda (Reclining Buddha), the Shwemawdaw Pagoda and the Hintha Gon Pagoda, the place where Bago was founded.
After watching the studying session, visiting the kitchen we were taken to a dormitory where novice monks were settling. We had the chance to have a nice chat though struggling with problems in language communication. But still they were smiling and very happy to interact with foreigners.
It was a fine experience and very important things were understood: being novice monks didn't necessarily mean that they had given up everything. They loved to talk and read about Manchester United (!!), they were very interested in LP guidebook. But above all was a poster of a western girl in hot shorts and wet T-shirt in their room!!!!!
Leaving the dormitory we saw some young monks having their shower just before lunch. Another one was feeding young puppies adopted by the monastery.
Our next stop was at the monastery's kitchen where we witnessed how food is cooked for such big number of monks living there.
Not only monks are cooking but they are escorted by civilians as well.
No electricity is used but the huge cooking pots are put on fire. Hygiene is questionable though.
We arrived at the monastery around 10:30am after catching the bus at 8am from Yangon bus station. As soon as we got off we were approached by a dozen of taxi or even motorcycle drivers wishing to tour us around. Negotiate and choose whoever speaks better english and has the best vehicle.
Our drivers took us first here and we were lucky enough to see all novice monks in their class having their lesson. What is amazing is that their classes lack desks. The novice monks line on the ground and they seemed quite devoted to their studies as very few were interrrupted by our presence. Very inspiring were when they were repeating their lesson all in one voice!
Perfect place to soak up the atmosphere of a monastery is to visit Bago's Kha Khat Wain Kyaung. Less touristy than the similar in Amarapura, it is the best place to socialize with monks who are more than happy to practice their english language skills.
Try to arrive there before their lunch time at 11 am.
The Shwemawdaw or 'Great Golden God Pagoda' of Bago is one of the oldest pagodas in Bago: it is said to be more than thousand years old. Originally built to a height of 23 meters in the 8th century, was rebuilt higher several times (usually following great earthquakes) until it finally reached its present 114 meter stature in 1954. Legends say that enshrined beneath the towering pagoda are the hairs and teeth of the Buddha. Because of these relics, Shwemawdaw is visited by throngs of Buddhist pilgrims during all hours of the day and night.
Like the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon, the stupa is reached by covered walkway lined by stalls though not as densely as its counterpart in the capital.
An interesting detail is found in the gigantic chinthe (half lion/half dragon guardian beast) at the western entrance in whose mouth there are small figures: the monk Shin Upagok (left) with one hand in his begging bowl and looking up to heaven and Shin Thiwali (right)
Another interesting feature is a part of the old brick pagoda that has fallen of the main structure during the latest earthquake.
A bit off Bago's centre you'll be guided to one of the town's major sights: The Shwe-tha-lyaung Buddha statue.
This huge reclining statue is considered as one of the finest of its kind. This is due to Buddha's face who despite is lying in death position has a gentle expression showing that he had gained the highest level of Nirvana.
The dimensions are really impressive: it is 55m long and 16m high. Some parts of the body are interesting to mention their dimensions: ear=4.5m, little finger=3m, big toe=1.8m
The statue is thought to date from 10th century and it was restored in the 15th century. In british colonial times it was abandoned in the jungle and rediscovered in 1881. Soon after it was restored back again and placed for worship.
Este temlo de 114m de altura domina toda la ciudad
Tiene más de 1000 años y alberga un diente y dos pelos de Buda.
Ha sufrido bastante en varios temblores de tierra pero durante los años lo han ido reconstruyendo
En la boca de los "Chinthe" que son las bestias que guardan el templo y son medio leon y medio dragon se alojan 2 Budas Mahayanas
This temple has 114 m high and it is over all the town
It has more than 1000 years and it keeps two Buddha hairs and one tooth
it has suffered a lot on several earthquakes but during the years they have rebuilt it
In the mouth of the "Chinte" , are the beasts that guard the temple and are half Lyon and half dragon are located two Buddhas
Kha Khat Wain Kyaung
Una vez que se tiene el arroz se pasa alrefertorio donde tienen las mesas, el te y el resto de comida para comer mezclandolo en el cuenco de arroz.
No faltan las chocolatinas en las mesas
Once the monks have the rice they go to the refectory where they have the tables , the tea and the rest of the food to eat all mixing on their rice bowl
Chocolates are not missing on their tables
Kha Khat Wain Kyaung
Para llegar a los pucheros de arroz hay que esperar y hacer colas
Los monjes salen de sus habitaciones y se dirigen en fila con su cuenco bajo el brazo a recibir su ración de arroz
to reach the rice tanks it is necessary to wait and to make long lines
The monks leave their rooms and they make a line with their bowl under their arm to get their rice portion
En el monasterio de viven más de 1000 monjes que a las 10h 30m comen arroz y otras cosas que les han dado los fieles por la mañana
El arroz esta en 4 peroles y los monjes les ponen sus raciones en los cuencos para que luego vayan a comer al refertorio
in the monastery of Kha Khat Wain Kyaung are living more than 1000 monks that at 10h 30m they eat rice and anotherthings that the people has given them as alms
The rice is in four big tanks and some monks put their part to the other monks in the bowls that they go to eat in the refectory
En Kyaik Pun Paya tiene cuatro Budas sentados , dandose la espalda, de 30 metros de altura cada uno y orientados mirando a los cuatro puntos cardinales
Cuatro hermanas Mon estan relacionadas con su construccion y se decia que si alguna se casaba se caeria un Buda.
Por lo que sea ,en el terremoto de 1930 se destruyo uno de los Budas ( en esta epoca ya tendrian 454 anos las hermanas Mon????)
In Kyaik Pun Paya they have four seated Bhudas, back to back, of 30 meters height each and looking to the four cardinal points
Four mon sisters are related with its construction and they said that if any of them was married one Bhuda should fall
For any reason during the 1930 earthquake one of the Bhudas was destroyed( on this time the Mon sisters should be on 454 years ????)
Cementerio por los caidos aliados en la Segunda Guerra mundial.
Hay 27.000 soldados, ingleses, nepalís,australianos... enterrados y es un sitio cargado de melancolía y tristeza.
Las lápidas emocionan al leerlas
Cementery for the allies died in the Second World War
There are 27.000 soldiers : British, Nepalies, Australians,... burried and is a place full of mellancholy and sadness
Bago is know for its four seated 30m high Buddha build in 1476 by King Dhammazedi.
An day trip from Yangon or a stop while travelling up north or down south.
Don't pay the 10$ admission to support the governement you see enough just walking around it.
Want to spend money , buy something from the kids the come to you.
I know you allready have 1000 postcards but it is a way for them to make a living instead of begging.
For me quiet moving was to see the individual graves, the first one that I really looked at was the grave of a soldier that left his life here, with an inscription in Afrikaans, the Lieutenant who died on the 27th of February 1945 was J.J.M. Smit – being South African it was a very sad moment.