This is the last chapter of our journey with Overland17. It’s incredible how many km we have covered since the beginning of our trip. We take a look at the Visirun tablet to check our path. We have travelled A LOT!
So here we are again. This time in Myanmar, to be more precise in Yangon, which was a little fisherman village, better known as Rangon. This is the biggest city with its 4.576.000 citizens and former capital of Myanmar.
The first place we visited was the Shwedagon Pagoda situated on Singuttara Hill, to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, and dominates the Yangon skyline. Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, as it is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present kalpa. These relics include the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa, and eight strands of hair from the head of Gautama. There’s a strict dress code you must respect to get inside and Stefano, our cameraman, obliged like a gentelman. So here he is, wearing a robe that covers his legs! 😛
Then we went for a walk in the city center of Yangon, the Bogyoke Market a major tourist destination, dominated by antique, Burmese handicraft and jewellery shops, art galleries, and clothing stores. It is closed on Monday, open every other day, including Sunday. Then we came across the Karaweik Hall. This is a life-size replica of the ancient royal vessel by the shores of the Kandawgy Lake. On the outside it looks like the Pagoda has the shape of Garuda, the mithologic bird and its made by concrete and wood. We also saw another pagoda, the Sule Pagoda, more little this time, and according to legend, it was built before the Shwedagon Pagoda making it more than 2.500 years old. The pagoda is listed on the Yangon City Heritage List. Our last visit wat at the Chauk Htat Gyi temple which is the most well-known Buddhist temple in Bahan Township, Yangon, Yangon Region, Myanmar. It houses one of the most revered reclining Buddha images in the country. The Buddha image is 66 metres long, and one of the largest in Burma. The construction was sponsored by a wealthy Burmese Buddhist, Sir Po Tha, in 1899. The image was completed in 1907 by another construction company, but was not proportioned correctly, and the Buddha’s face had an aggressive expression. In the 1950s, the old Buddha image was demolished and temple trustees began work to replace the image. The Buddha image was consecrated in 1973.
We leave the capital but without our cars. This time we fly to the West coast to get to Pan Taw, another small village where the Italian Development Cooperation is trying to help the population. These two days are the perfect occasion to give life to our own project with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The aim is to bring help form Italy to Myanmar. Tonight we set up CinemArena, a solidarity-based cinema inside the village’s temple. The Oikos’ goals of the project are:
– forest replantation since its heavy logging;
– creation of a dam, to have a water supply;
– creation of women work groups to learn how to invest collected money.
The next day we go to Kyeintali where we take part of another project to help building a “tree wall” to preserve the coast from tsunami just like the one in 2004.