Saturday, January 4, 2014

Irrawaddy River, Burma

Hi, We boarded the river boat shortly after noon and sailed about 1:00 PM.

The windows and terraces in the front 2/3 of the boat indicate passenger accommodations.  The dining room and lounge occupy the rear 1/3.

Our afternoon trip permitted us to take numerous photos of river traffic and life along the river.  I'll cover the river traffic in a separate post.

Except for the larger cargo and passenger boats almost all the boats on the river use the "long tail" method of propulsion.  As can be seen in the above photo, the engine is mounted at the rear of the boat and is connected to a long shaft or long tail.  The propeller at the other end of the shaft is dipped into the water.  To turn the boat the entire assembly is rotated to the right or left.

Brahma cows are used to haul carts and to plow fields.  We did not see any mechanized farming in Burma.

In late afternoon we stopped at the small village of Mingun, known for its unfinished Stupa.  Construction of the Stupa began in 1790.

This bell, weighing 90 tons was cast for the Stupa.  It is the largest ringing bell in the world.

Two young monks were just hanging out around the bell.

The town catered to tourists with its own taxi service,

and various shops, including this one that sold traditional puppets.

Near the unfinished Stupa was this unique pagoda built in 1816.

Returning to the boat I encountered this woman.  The sack is resting on a Longyi that has been fashioned into a pad.

At the end of the day we moved down river a few miles and tied up to the river bank of an island.  In the morning we returned to Mandalay for a 1/2 day of touring.

Our first stop was the Shwe Kyaung Monastery.  It was built in 1880 as part of the original royal palace and is the only surviving structure.

The monastery is known for its teak carvings of Buddhist myths on the roof (above and below)

walls (above and below),

and doors.

Inside was this sitting Buddha.

Next we visited Ku Tho Daw Pagoda, home of the world's biggest book.  Each of the structures (above and below) contains a stone slab on which is inscribed a part of the Buddhist canon.  There are 729 slabs in all.

Here is one of the slabs, and

the stupa.

These statues guarded the entrance to the stupa.

Our final stop in Mandalay was outside the grounds of the royal palace.  The grounds are surrounded by a moat and wall.  The palace buildings inside the wall were destroyed by Japaneses bombing during WW II so the palace grounds have been turned into a park.

Note pagodas on the hill side in the background.  Where ever we went there were pagodas/stupas ranging from very small to huge.

This monk is climbing the step we used to get to and from our boat in Mandalay.

Before we departed Mandalay I took a walk along the dock area.  Once again, the prevalence of hand labor was amazing.  Here workers are loading sacks of cement on this boat.

The Irrawaddy is also used for washing clothes.  The clothing is beaten with a stick.  In future posts I'll show other uses.

The clothing is hung out or laid out on the ground to dry right next to the river.

Thanks for looking.

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