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New Insein Railway overbridge costing Ks 5.8 billion, was open to traffic on 17th August.

“Traffic congestion will decrease as vehicles can drive on the bridge. It also has sidewalk”, said a responsible person of Myanmar Railway. The new bridge was jointly implemented by Myanmar Shwe Tharaphu Co. Ltd, J & M Co. Ltd, Myanmar Railway and YCDC (Road and Bridge Department) on 1st January. It is along side the old bridge. The length of the new bridge is 1,557 feet. The width of two way road is 18 feet. It is built at the crossroad toward Sawbwagyigone Pannchan Lanthit from Insein. Vehicles driving toYangon from Maingtharyar Township will be allowed to pass the new bridge and fromYangon to Hlaingtharyar Township will be permitted( to run on the old bridge.

Discover stunning architecture, Buddhist inand tribal cultures Myanmar

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Myanmar is at the top of the list in terms of amazing sights, stunning architec­ture, natural beauty, color­ful tribal people, and pure unadulterated Buddhist

culture.

A visit to this Southeast Asian country is a step back in time; a “cash society” where the first few ATMs were only recently installed

Leave your credit cards and smart phones at home; they are useless oddities here.

Having remained off-lim­its to Westerners and under military rule until recently, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a frozen in am­ber time capsule of history.

As my wife and I dis­covered on our trip last November, although the small towns and villages are interesting, the larger and most spectacular sites are in or near the main population centers.

In Yangon (also known as Rangoon), Myanmar’s largest city, Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda boasts a magnificent 214-foot-long and 40-foot­tall golden robed reclining Buddha whose crown is encrusted with diamonds artd-precious gems and whose enormous rose- and gold-colored feet bear the 108 auspicious symbols of Buddha.

1We watched in awe as a group of red-robed monks carefully washed and tended to this massive religious statue in reverent silence.

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The spectacular 2,000-year-old, 12-acre hilltop Shwedagon Pagoda complex has a magnificent dome that rises 300 feet into the air from its base, and is considered the holi­est temple in the country. Its dome is clad in 60 tons of pure gold.

Shwedagon towers over Yangon, and the sun glittering off the dome at sunset is a mesmerizing sight. Hundreds of Buddha statues reside within the complex.

Our next major stop was Bagan, a place of temples, stupas, pago­das and monasteries ranging from small and simple to enormous and amazingly ornate.

During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centu­ries, more than 10,000 Buddhist structures were constructed in the Bagan plains, of which 2,200 remain intact.

Looking out over the horizon covered with these ancient reli­gious structures, with the moun­tains and the Irrawaddy River in the distance, is a breathtaking experience.

In Mandalay we spent time at the Mahamuni Paya, home to a venerated 13-foot, 6.5-ton bronze seated Buddha, one of the most sacred in Myanmar.

It is a solemn place of prayer and contemplation, where dozens of red- and orange-robed monks and pink-robed Buddhist nuns can be seen praying, chanting and medi­tating. Over the centuries, devout Buddhists have been applying gold leaf to the Buddha whose head, like that of the reclining Buddha in Yangon, is encrusted in gemstones. The Buddha’s gold surface is now estimated to be about 6 inches thick.

More than 200 miles inland from the Bay of Bengal is Inle Lake, the most visually beautiful of all the areas we visited. From sunrise to sunset, small boats ply the waters.

They are manned by a single standing fisherman who uses one leg to paddle his boat and the oth­er to balance himself, and his arms to manipulate a primitive net. Visitors can also see large ancient water-based “floating gardens” which today we call aquaculture.

It is in this area of the country that one can see many different societies with men, wom­en and children in native tribal dress.

One of the most interesting tribes we met was the Padaung hill tribe, also known as the “Tribe of the Long Neck Ladies” who adorn their necks and limbs with heavy brass rings.

At Inthein, a Lakeshore village, we visited mysterious hilltop ruins where hundreds of ancient pago­das lie cloaked in thick vegetation.

Large long and narrow boats shuttle groups of colorfully robed young and old monks to and fro. It is a beautiful, peaceful and unique place.

Myanmar is an unforgettable experience and a chance to see an unspoiled part of our planet that fewlVesterners have had the opportunity to enjoy.

But things are changing rapidly; tourism threatens to dilute what is currently a pristine and uniquely

pure experience. If you want to see what may someday be gone forever, the time (as it seems for so many things in life) is certainly now.

Howard Axelrod is an Ashland resident, travel photographer, sometime writer and a former high technology executive. He can be reached at highwind@verizomnet.

Source : The traveller Vol 3, No.11  From August 24 To August 30, 2015