YANGON TRAVEL DIARIES: Giant Reclining Buddha

The first temple we visited in Yangon is the Chaukhtatgyi Temple wherein lies a giant reclining Buddha. I had no idea on the itinerary for most of the trip because TD prepared everything with the travel agent. So I was just there to be surprised… =P

Going in through this small street with an old watch tower and an abandoned headless statue , I didn’t expect much…

We had actually come prepared with socks, not knowing that even socks are not allowed in the temples in Myanmar.  The facade did not hint at the breathtaking giant buddha inside. I didn’t know what to expect.

They sell birds by the entrance – is this to let go or part of any custom?

Wow. The reclining buddha of Chaukhtatgyi Temple is truly magnificent. You wouldn’t expect it from seeing the corrugated steel exterior that houses it.

he reclining Buddha is a common motif in the temples and holy places of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar and perhaps the most famous example is the spectaculargolden Reclining Buddha at Wat Po in Bangkok, which itself is absolutely huge. I think, although I’m not sure, that the Reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi is even bigger than the one found in Wat Po, and apparently the biggest Reclining Buddha of all, the Shwethalyaung Buddha which is some 55 metres long, lies a couple of hours drive outside Yangon at Bago.

Going to Myanmar is like going back in time. Buying a mobile phone SIM card (phone not included) can set you back about 750 USD. So I was really fascinated by this monk who was texting.

Measurement of parts of the reclining buddha – even the glass eye ball! 

Donations

A man selling food to hungry buddhists. A water-station donated by (I guess) people from New York? No plastic cups here folks – communal cups are the way to go in temples. I don’t recommend foreigners to try it though because the water might be from the river and unlike the locals who are used to it, it might not agree much with you tummy.

If you are going here, make sure to look for the viewing platform  built specifically to give a view over the fence surrounding the base of the Buddha. We didn’t know about it then but you will be able to take a photo like this if you do. Awesome right?

I read this interesting and informative post about this reclining Buddha. This writeup was written in 2007, and not many tourist frequented Myanmar then. Nowadays the Chaukhtatgyi Temple is a must see destination of buses of tourist in Yangon. Check it out when you go, but be sure to have the following:

  • Bottles of water (preferably chilled in an ice box)
  • Wet wipes for cleaning your feet after
  • Fan (it get’s really hot with the sun beating down the corrugated steel structure)
  • Sunglasses

I wish I took better picture but i think the heat was getting to me. Click here to see amazing shots of Chaukhtatgyi Temple & the Reclining Buddha.

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