|The Bawgyo Monastery|
But the temple is another matter. A huge structure of mirrored glass, it looks pretty impressive. It is apparently the most important religious place in Shan State. There were certainly a lot of offerings left there, mostly selection baskets containing Amongst other things, flowers, coconuts, bags of popcorn and little paper decorations.
Of course, being a female, I was not allowed inside the inner area where the Buddha image sits - apparently letting in women may be too much of a temptation for the celibate monks, which is also why we have to cover up more in the rest of the temple too - but Nic went in and I could watch him on the screens outside.
Do note the chicken like thing on top of the big column, which is in fact a Hamsa, a mythological bird that can fly very long distances. It features strongly in the temples here. The message is that, despite the Hamsa's strength and power, it will still die one day, so it serves as a reminder that every person, no matter their wealth or status, will also die and if they are hoping to move closer to the prized state of enlightenment and Nirvana, then they must live their life well and follow the Buddha teachings.
The monks themselves were generally a little shy of us, but they would normally return a 'mingalabar' (hello), and some would loiter around to watch us. They were normally happy to have a photo taken too. It wasn't just the monks that found us intriguing though.
A few groups of Burmese people visiting the monastery were fascinated by our presence and some of the women were bold enough to come over and say hello while we were cooking. They seemed quite interested to see what we were cooking and how we were preparing the food.