We didn't get up as early as we had in the previous days once we would be exploring the Bagan archaeological area. We stopped at the local post office in new Bagan to drop the cards we had written and continued towards the old part of the city where an estimated 2,200 temples, pagodas, monasteries and other religious structures are said to be scattered.
"A light rain was falling and the sky was dark with heavy clouds when I reached Bagan. In the distance I saw the pagodas for which it is renowned. they loomed, huge, remote and mysterious, out of the mist of the early morning like the vague recollections of a fantastic dream." - Somerset Maugham - 1930
Those are said to be the surviving structures of the 13,000 erected between Anawratha's conquest of Thaton in 1057 and Kublai Kahn's invasion of the Bamar empire in 1287. The spectacle of their towers and finials bristling from the plains was simply mesmerising. Wherever we looked there were stupas and temples in red hues amidst the green and brownish lands surrounding them and the more we looked the more we got "lost" in our thoughts regarding the "lost" empire.
We climbed onto one of those temples so as to get an overall perspective of one of the plains as seen from above. It wasn't easy to go up because the steps were quite wide making the climb (and the descent) hard, together with the fact that high up above there wasn't any protection, but it was really worth having risked climbing it.
Dominique, Valérie and Jean Philipe climbing down
Once down and whilst we were waiting for others to climb down Noëlle and I didn't resist buying another silk longyi, this time in greenish and golden-like colours
(To be continued)