Pagodas and a Buddhist temple are more or less a synonym of Myanmar, “The golden Land” or “The Land of Pagodas.” Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained in 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. Despite multiparty legislative elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party – the National League for Democracy (NLD) – winning a landslide victory, the ruling junta refused to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who was under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002, was imprisoned in May 2003 and is currently under house arrest. In December 2004, the junta announced it was extending her detention for at least an additional year. Her supporters, as well as all those who promote democracy and improved human rights, are routinely harassed or jailed. [39 Pictures]
Amarapura is one of the most magnificent place in Myanmar, no mechanisation, no cars, no noise, just people living in harmony with nature. The bridge was built by Mr Bein, King Bodawpaya’s mayor, from teak planks from Inwa when the capital was moved to Amarapura. The bridge has stood for over two centuries so it’s rather rickety and wobbly and there are large gaps between some of the planks. It’s over 1 km long and the traffic is heavy with many children going to and from school, vendors of jade, seed necklaces and water colours, monks, women with loaded head baskets and cyclists, although these are not suposed to ride across. Myanmar – Burma, February 13, 2008 (CC jmhullot, Jean-Marie Hullot).
The Popa Taungkalat Shrine is home to 37 Mahagiri Nats, or spirits. Statues depicting the Nats are at the base of the Shrine. As you ascend the 777 steps to the summit, you will be asked to remove your socks and shoes. You will also be greeted by hungry monkeys along the way, so bring something to feed them or keep your belongings close to you, so they don’t run off with your lunch! Pegu Range, Myanmar – Burma, September 7, 2007 (special permission VenerandaDeLuca/J.Markoff).