Nan Oo Buddha

Nan Oo Buddha

I recently spent 8 days traveling through India. As is typical when I travel, I never spent more than two nights in the same hotel during the trip. It's really a love-hate relationship when it comes to hotel hopping. Just when you feel a bit settled, you have to pack up and do it all over again.

It can be really time consuming too! I always have some items in my carry-on that I am eager to move into my checked bag to lighten the load, if I'll be traveling overland and not worrying about more flights. Perhaps you brought a laptop with but don't need it with you during the day? Or like me, at night you need to charge all your camera batteries and back up your photos. Either way, you're bound to at least need to grab your toiletries and some clean clothes.

To make life a lot easier, I always use some packing cubes when I travel. Depending on the length of the trip, I also bring along a toiletry bag if I have a checked bag and some sort of shoe bag if I'm bringing more than the kicks on my feet.

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Daily Photo - Nan Oo Buddha

I arrived a bit weary eyed and tired in Yangon late at night after flying in from San Francisco. I had some challenges the first night with my hotel - within a matter of an hour or so, the electricity had gone out. Calling down to the front desk, no one answered so I had to stumble around before making my way down to get someone to fix the power. 

Fast forward 45-60mins later and a hotel employee just opened the door and walked in before realizing someone (me!) was actually in the room. There were no deadlocks on the door so aside from rigging a chair up against the door knob, there wasn't much I could do. Not the best way to start off a month long trip, but luckily things only improved from there.

I had a tour starting around noon the next day so I hired a taxi to drive me around to a couple temples in the morning. Time is always too short when traveling. First up was the Botataung Pagoda located alongside the Hlaing river.

Inside one of the pavilions is this astonishing image of the Nan Oo Buddha. It is set within a rather ornately decorated shrine with glass panels that glimmer and sparkle. 

I should clarify the term "image" here. It was a bit confusing to me at first too, but an image of the Buddha doesn't mean it's only a photo or a painting. It can be a photo or painting, but also any sculpture or statue that has the Buddha's face can be referred to as an image of Buddha.

Britain initially annexed Upper Burma in 1885. Capturing the Royal Palace in Mandalay, the British colonial troops commanded by General Prendergast looted the place. The King's throne, artifacts, and hundreds of images of Buddha were taken from Myanmar to Britain. Many of these, including the Nan Oo Buddha would be displayed for years in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

On November 8th, 1943, when Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) was bombing the nearby Yangon wharves, Batotaung Pagoda was also hit and destroyed. Rebuilding work began shortly after WWII, and was completed in 1953. The pagoda was reconstructed to the same original height of 132 feet (39.6m).

After Myanmar eventually gained independence after WWII, the King's throne and the Nan Oo Buddha were shipped back to Myanmar. The Nan Oo Buddha has resided at Batotaung Pagoda ever since.

The pagoda is very popular with Thai tourists in particular. In one of the other shrines, there is a Buddhist deity that is believed to grant wishes. You must bring two bills of equal amounts - one for the deity, and one for yourself. While the bills are being blessed, you make a wish. One of the bills is returned to you, the other is kept for the temple and your wish shall come true.