Myanmar Photographs

Myanmar Photographs

Myanmar is a Buddhist country with over 53 million people and more than 100 ethnic groups. It is ”the Land of the Hindu god Brahma”, from where it gets its name Burma. Out of bound to tourists for many years, it now reveals its spectacular people, culture and landscape to the world. With almost 5000 pagodas, stupas and temples, it presents an astonishing spectacle of living Buddhist culture, culminating in one of the most beautiful Buddhist monuments in the world, Shwe Dagon at Yangon. Highlights also include the medieval land of Bagan, the ancient archaeological sites at Mrauk U, the old capital of Mandalay and Inle Lake. You need to really like gold to visit Burma, as it can become quite overwhelming to be surrounded on all sides and as far as the eye can see by gilded rocks, objects, statues, spires and temples, inside and out.

I had my first glimpse of Burma through the old 1956 black and white anti-war film Harp of Burma by the Japanese director Kon Ichikawa. There is a scene where the soldier/monk worships at Shwe Dagon Pagoda. This appeared as an amazing cluster of intricately carved temples and architecture and I fell in love immediately. So the huge gilded stupa of Shwe Dagon is buried deep inside my mind as a symbol of magnificence. Imagine how shocked I was when I visited in late 2014 and found that the film clip must have been set in about 100th of the actual area. Shwe Dagon is gigantic, like a whole city. Legend has it that Shwe Dagon is about 2600 years old, making it one of the  oldest Buddhist stupas in the world.

You need to really like gold to visit Myanmar, as it can become quite overwhelming to be surrounded on all sides and as far as the eye can see by gilded rocks, objects, statues, spires and temples, inside and out. These are some of my favourite photographs taken in a 3 week visit to Yangon, Sittwe, Mrauk U, Mandalay, Bagan, Mt Popa and Inle Lake.