The first photo at the top of the post was taken from the ticket office for the ferry to Mingun and shows the tourist area for the jetty. The people wearing the yellow jackets were the 'Tourist Police' there to supervise. My daughter and I had our photo taken with two of them and I will use this photo today and the one in the office on my photography blog for 'World at Work' and 'Faces on Friday' LindyLouMac's World in Photos The jetty was actually very busy apart from the tourist boats as shown in the next photo.
We did wonder if we were going to be travelling on a ferry like this one above, but there were special boats for the tourists, which was just as well I think! However to get to our boat we did still have to walk a very precarious plank which was fun.
Approaching Mingun even from a distance the view of the enormous ruins of the Mingun Phato Pagoda towers over everything is impressive. Built by King Bodawpaya it was intended to be the largest pagoda in the world, only a third of it was ever completed, but it is still a spectacular sight. At the time of our visit it was closed to the public due to the state it is in, but maybe one day it will once again be possible to climb this amazing structure.
On arrival we explored the village and I took loads of photos of which I have selected just a few to share here. We did not use the taxi's we walked!
Hsinbyume Pagoda (Myatheindan Pagoda) was built by King Bagyidaw in 1816, in memory of his favorite wife. Its unusual architecture is quite striking. It is based on the Sulamani Pagoda on the peak of the mythical golden mountain of Meru, which is the center of the universe in Buddhist-Hindu cosmology. Seven terraces with with undulating rails - representing the seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru - lead up the stupa, and all the way along are niches in which mythical monsters such as Nats, orgres and Nagas (mythical serpents) stand guard.
The Mingun Bell, with a height of 3.7 metres, is said to be the largest working bell in the world. The Kremlin bell in Moscow is actually bigger but it is cracked and therefore not in use. Weighing 90 metric tons, the Mingun Bell was cast in bronze in 1808, and once it was completed the master craftsman was executed in order to stop him making anything similar! These young ladies asked to have their photos taken with my daughter, we were such a novelty to them.
After lunch we took the ferry back to Mayanchan jetty and returned to our hotel for a few hours relaxation before meeting up again in the early evening with our friendly guide, Poonya to have a drink together and enjoy the sunset at the 'Dagon Beer Station'
We returned to our hotel for supper and an early night as Poonya was collecting us the next morning at 5.30am. We were catching a ferry to Bagan, a ten hour trip on the Ayeyarwady River, which will be the subject of my next Myanamar post.
If you have missed my earlier posts about Our Myanmar Trip and want to catch up, here are the links.
Yangon - First Impressions of Myanmar
Yangon - Further First Impressions of Myanmar
Mandalay - Part One - Impressions of Myanmar
Mandalay - Part Two - Impressions of Myanmar - Burma
You can also find reviews of some of the places mentioned today on my Trip Advisor - LindyLouMac account.
With thanks to the following sites for some of the background information included in this post. The links will take you directly to the official websites if you are interested in learning more about Mandalay. I also used my Insight Guide to Myanmar for reference.
Myanmar Travel Information Mandalay Region - Wikipedia
Mandalay - The City - Wikipedia Mandalay Poem - Wikipedia Words to Mandalay - Kipling Society
Facebook - Ilikemyanmar - Information Channel
Mingun - Wikipedia Trip Advisor - Mingun Paya
All photos are my own taken in December 2013 unless otherwise mentioned.
More Mandalay photos can be found on Flickr in My Album entitled Mandalay, Myanmar. which contains over 500 photos just from our three days!