Gautama Buddha preached moderation.
Yet Thailand’s wats are filled to the brim with golden Buddha statues, some as tall as skyscrapers.
Looking for an excuse to prolong our stay, we decided to play tourist and visit some temples.
So off we went to the Dharmikarama Burmese Temple and Thai Wat Chaiyamangalaram. They face each other and they’re both a riot of colour.
More Penang impressions:
Just north of Mysore lies the Hoysala temple of Belur. It’s filled with intricate carvings of dancers, elephants and scenes from the epics.
At times, it’s completely peaceful. Then a group of pilgrims would arrive…
Noise! Chaos! A pandemonium descended as the Indians rushed around the grounds, taking selfies and running every which way.
Shortly thereafter, they left. The tranquillity was restored.
More Mysore impressions:
Yes, the Gangaikonda Cholapuram is a magnificent temple.
But after having pedaled through a number of turbulent, chaotic Indian cities, what we really appreciated was it’s tranquil garden setting.
Another highlight of Bagan was the Shwezigon pagoda. It’s an immense zedi that shines brightly in the sun. The fine gold details that cover the stupa are magnificent.
Since most of our fellow tourists were ‘templed out’, we had the complex all to ourselves.
More Bagan impressions:
The dazzling splendour of Bangkok’s Grand Palace is stunning!
Even the smallest statue is decorated with gold leaf and mosaic.
But one downside; you do have to share the experience with hundreds of other sweating, over-heated tourists…
More Bangkok impressions:
Bodhnath stupa is immense, the largest in Asia.
Scores of Tibetan pilgrims make their kora (ritual circumnavigation) of the dome while monks in maroon robes wander the streets around the stupa.
It’s a haven of peace and quiet, so unlike the rest of the Kathmandu Valley.
More Bodhnath impressions:
Paharpur dates back to the 8th century and was once the largest Buddhist monastery south of the Himalaya.
We stayed at the Paharpur guesthouse which was located inside the grounds. Early the next morning we walked alone amongst the ruins, soaking up the atmosphere.
Then the gates opened and Bangladeshi day-trippers flooded in.
As soon as they spotted us it was, “Madame, madame! Can we take our picture with you?” The attention didn’t let up until closing time.
Myanmar is one of the most devout Buddhist countries in the world.
Everywhere you look, there’s a Buddha statue to be seen.