Soon after the ritual ceremony we continued walking around the complex and it was noticeable that not only was it an important day for the novices but alsofor their relatives who we could see being photographed in several places within the complex bearing their gifts and offerings.
We headed to the northern corner of the ensemble where six of the thirty huge Khmer origin bronze statues, said to have been looted from the former Arakan capital, Mrauk-U stood. Pilgrims believe them to possess healing powers rub the body parts of the statues corresponding to their own afflictions.
I came across a family, in one of the galleries, who insisted on being photographed following my handing out of a few gifts to the young girl.
It was rather strange to notice that what had taken place some minutes before was no longer. That glamour, fusion of colours and piercing noise were gone as we made our way back to the yard and the Museum housing quite a few paintings depicting the lives of Buddha. What was left were a few worshippers and vendors selling their traditional goods.
As the guide provided us with a thorough explanation on one particular spice packed in small plastic bags I sighted a rather sad looking young girl with her hair shaven standing next to another child, possibly her brother, whom I approached so as to hand them a toy and some bright coloured baloons.
It was quite a moment as we both stood there looking at each other as if our looks could better express what lacked in communication terms.
The moment we walked out it was as if we had emerged into a completely different world - the normal bustling of a day-to-day routine.
(To be continued)