Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mandalay continued……...

Our start the next day was visiting a gold leaf workshop where we observed what hard work it was…..
they pound until  about 2 oz's of gold is stretched to a 3/4inch ribbon 20 feet long! It is then cut into 200 equal pieces…...

Once the gold is thin enough it is then wrapped in bamboo  paper…. to make this paper, which doesn'tt tear, the bamboo is soaked in lime for 3 years…….quite a lengthy process!

It is again hammered for about a half hour…..then each flake is cut in 6 giving 120 from the original unit!  These are again pounded and cut giving a total of 720 pieces from the original 2 ounces!…..

Then on to the packaging department! These ladies sit all day in an sealed enclosed space, so that the gold leaf doesn't blow away…..

And this lady is piecing together all the little bits of gold leaf so that there is no loss!

We found the whole process intriguing……

and of course they were being packaged for sale at the Pagodas….probably for men….ladies not allowed!!

After this we had an interesting trip to Inwa, one of the old capitals..

This involved crossing a river on a ferry

We found it a little disconcerting to watch the water being pumped out of the boat…..

 on the other side we found lots of horse and carts waiting their turn to take people to the Monastery..

 Our first stop…… the Yadana Hsimi Pagodas, destroyed in an 1839 earthquake

 The earthquake evidence was a little off putting!

We arrived at the Bagaya Monastery happy to be able to get out of the horse cart for a while……it was rather a bumpy ride!
 The gigantic teak posts…..

Apparently the architectural board has tried to remove the monks from the actual Pagoda…. and even built a very ordinary looking square block building for them on the doorstep……but the head monk won't move out and teaches the village children in one corner…..

 The carved exterior was spectacular….

particularly the doors…..
The entrance to the Monastery didn't have too large a parking space or turn around for the horses so we had a traffic jam!!

The ride back to the ferry went a little faster …….…..

 particularly after we bought some bananas for the horse…...

……..outside the Mahar Aung Mye Bon San Monastery

 The women do seem to do a lot of hard work….

The leaning tower behind is the only structure still there of the Palace…...

We also passed by some of their homes………

Back to the other side on the ferry and then on to Sagaing Hill,

which apparently has in total about 600 pagodas and monasteries, both for monks and nuns.  The monks are in red and the nuns in pink…otherwise it would be difficult to distinguish one from the other as they all have shaved heads.This is considered the religious centre of Myanmar and has over 3000 monks and 100 meditation centers.

And, of course, we had to make a few more handicraft stops en route…….


 and silversmiths…….

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