Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Myanmar discovery circuit - Day 7 (noon) - Mount Popa - Taung Talat Monastery ensemble - The 18th of November 2015

Fairly close to the Nat Temple there was a sort of open market in front of which was the actual stairway entrance to the Popa Taung Kalat Temple ensemble. Sided by two huge elephants the entrance led to a covered walkway lined with stalls selling religious souvenirs.

To reach the top we had to walk for about thirty minute and the only problem were not the sttep steps but the presence of fierce looking macaques, which are known to attack people or run away with the objects they are carrying, from hats to cameras and bottles of water. I put away my glasses, watch and any other object that might eventually attract their attention but above all tried to have a strong grip on the camera as I made my way up with Noëlle, Bernard, Valerie and Paco.

Every "x" number of flights of stairs there were some terraces where we often stopped to get our breath back and take some panoramic photos. The macaques did actually rip one of Paco's bags, ran away with a bottle of water from another foreigner who was walking up with us and menaced a few of those who didn't hand them out something in fear. The truth is that although I wasn't particularly afraid I did try to avoid them.

I had initially thought the climb would be harder but the fact that the stairway was partly covered made it easier in terms of the heat and humidity.

When we finally reached the summit which culminated in a small 737 plateau we came across a gleaming complex of Buddhist and Nat shrines and for all we had seen some equally magnificent ones before the fact that Mount Popa has become the "legendary" home of the Gods with mythical beings inhabitting its slopes as well as alchimists and ocultists made it feel rather magical. 


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