4,600 temples and a hot air balloon
Trip Start Oct 11, 2009
57Trip End Mar 18, 2010
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The universal sales technique in Bagan is a three step process
Hawkers aside, Bagan was absolutely magical. We cycled around on dirt paths, accompanied by farmers and their ox-carts, across the 4 square mile plain, exploring whichever of the more than 4,000 temples caught our fancy. Many had stairs leading up to a magnificent rooftop view of the landscape of sesame fields dotted with red brick temples. Temple interiors were mostly four-sided, with a main Buddha (often in painted teak, sometimes in sandstone) and lesser ones at the other cardinal points. Many have the remnants of once spectacular 1,000 year old murals, but most temples have been reconstructed after the 1975 earthquake. We escaped the scorching mid-day sun for a few hours of siesta by the pool, and then set out again in the late afternoon, thinking ahead to what pagoda we would climb to watch the sunset
On our last morning in Bagan, we woke up extra-early (by this time, Melora had been convinced of the wisdom of the early morning rhythm) for a sunrise ride in a hot air balloon over the Bagan plain. It was a treat to see the ground that we had covered by bicycle from the air and peaceful to be floating silently above the plain, watching the farmers ploughing as the sun made its way over the horizon. We also saw just how many temples there had been, as the landscape was pocked with ruins - areas where no crops were planted and small amounts of exposed brick were visible from above. It seemed fitting to land and be handed a glass of Bisol prosecco to toast our descent.