This is the most important festival at the pagoda on the shores of Lake Taungthaman next to U Bein bridge. This festival attracts large numbers of pilgrims and runs for ten days, traditionally from the 5th waning day of Tawthalin to the new moon. This occurs late in September and early in October. If you are in the area at this time, it would an interesting event to experience.
'Bo Bo Gyi Nat' means 'figure of the great father'. On the eve of the festival, pilgrims traditionally throw tea leaves at each other from fixed positions. It is said that if you are hit, then you must visit the festival again next year.
Basket-weaving is a commonly-practiced craft in Amarapura. The dominant market for baskets is local traders and householders.
In recent years, many tourists have been attracted to U Bein bridge and the demand for local products has increased as more people move to the area seeking work.
For the lady pictured here, the biggest time of the year for sales was October 3rd to 13th, which marks the Bo Bo Gyi Nat Festival and draws visitors from all over Myanmar.
Her English-speaking 7 year-old nephew told me this as he gave us a de facto tour of the area (see my Amarapura page for more info on this amazing little guy).
This road is being made with hand-packed stone. The stones are sorted into similar sizes and then redistributed like a jigaw puzzle.
The road in this village (at one end of U Bein bridge in Amarapura) had previously been an earth road, but a sturdier alternative was needed it seems.
I was told this labor-intensive method is preferred to a gravel road because of the high cost of regular grading.
I noticed that drying bamboo was laying on the ground in front of almost all of the houses on the Thaungthaman side of the bridge. It must have been for repairs and new construction of homes. Almost all of the homes where built using this.
You can see the beautiful work that is done on these wall hangings. The guy that owned the factory told me that most of this style of wall hanging that is sold in Chiang Mai Thailand are produced right here in Amarapura. He told me that is because the labor is so much cheaper than in Thailand. I believed him because the style is what I considered a Thai style that I had seen in Chiang Mai. Although I don't consider myself an expert on the subject. Actually I know very little about it. Just observations.
I went to a factory that produced sequin lined wall hangings and other handi-crafts. There were many girls working on these. On some of the bigger projects I saw 5 girls working on 1 project. I was told that they take up to 2 weeks to finish the big ones. Then I asked how much it cost and it wasn't that expensive I don't remember the price though. Then I asked how much the girls made and my answer was "It depends on the quality" Which I translated as They don't make much money!
Amarapura is one of the big centers for Silk Weaving. Many of the factories offer tours for free! Of course they appreciate any purchases that you might make. But the tours are very interesting. Some of the designs are very intricate and are all done on hand and foot operated looms of the old tradition.
Here you can see the Novice Monks taking their meal. You can tell the novice Monks by the white robes. It is quite quiet while the eating is going on. The Monks eat with their hands so there isn't any silverware squeaky either.
Here you can see the cotton drying on the racks. Amarapura is such a huge weaving area that there must be huge fields like this for drying the cotton. But I didn't see them.
I guess there are around 40,000 looms in the Amarapura area! The clickety-clackety sound is quite nice to listen to.
Here you can see the beautiful robes of the Monks as they await their turn for recieving their offering.
Here you can see the Monks as they are about to enter the eating hall. When they were outside that made quiet conversation amongst themselves but didn't talk upon entering the eating hall.