Monday, April 28, 2014

Lighting up the Schwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

It was about 4pm when we reached the Schwedagon pagoda. After less than an hour going around the structures, I was left nothing to do. We were also waiting for the dark, as the Pagoda looked nice when lit.

I saw some three people pouring oil over some small pots rolled around the pagoda. I watched them closely and a little while later, I couldn't help it anymore; Just like what I do all the time, I asked if I can try.  

Burmese people, being very friendly, rarely say no, i guess :-). I got kind of excited at imagining how the whole place would look like to see all of it lit around later (they said at 7pm).

After pouring the palm oil to all the pots that surround the Pagoda, next, we put in some yarn on to the pots. The yarns of the 4 adjacent pots should meet on one end so that lighting will easy. 

At this point, I met this old local guy who was also helping out (It seems he was also accompanied by some teenagers). He spoke good english, so had quite a conversation with him. According to him, though he may be challenged by his age, he comes here every sunday to help out in the lighting. He used to work for UN Council and now a volunteer physician to his countrymen.

There was more than just doing the task; The cold floor over my bare feet, while I move from pot to pot, the perfect timing of the activity during the transition of dawn from bright into the darkness, was just (pardon my word) mystical. 

As per the burmese I spoke to there, they do this every sunday (and friday too I guess). It may not be part of your tour, nor have been mentioned as one of your must try in lonely planet, but LIMBONIS says it's a must, must try. Then you'd see the gold even more golden and precious :-).

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