There was still time when I got down from Sagaing Hill. I asked my motorbike driver Tubo, if we got time to visit this one temple I was eyeing. He insists it wasn’t included on what Olsen advised him so he cannot. Insisting further that it’s just a few minutes away, he stood his ground. I wasn’t in the mood to argue so I just asked his suggestion on where we could kill time before going to our sunset spot. He told me we could visit Tupayon Paya just a few yards from Ava Bridge. So off we went.
The more we drive around Sagaing, the more I like the place. The roads are wide, the streets looks clean and people seem to have a very care-free attitude. Like I said before, it felt like I’m only one of the few tourist in the area. Even in Tupayon Paya, I’m the only foreigner there apart from 3-4 local people I came across with, not counting the two flower vendors by the entrance.
Tupayon Paya is an interesting temple. It may not look much judging from its quiet grounds and imposing snake figures looking over the stupa, but the paya was originally built 1444. Looking closely at the stupa will show its uniqueness – the only one with circular stories and repeating arched niches on each of them.
It was time to head to our sunset spot to a paya where to stupa stand side by side. The paya is called Shwe-Kyet-Kya and Shwe-Kyet-Yet. Located on a high bluff by the river, these two stupas have been standing here since the 12th century. I can imagine why they built this spot, it beautifully overlooking Irrawaddy river and opposite are the stupa-filled hills of Sagaing.
There were only 2 foreign guests when I was there and the rest were locals also enjoying the place. I stayed there waiting for the sun to go down, taking in the moment, enjoying the scenery and the realization that in a few days I’m about to leave this wonderful country.
Large big golden ball slowly descends behind the Sagaing Bridge and mists carefully rise up the hills – an orchestrated wonder of nature in play with man’s work of devotion. The stupas glimmer like gold as the light strikes them and slowly enveloped by the deep pastel hues of the sky as the night enters. A beautiful shift of light captured eternally in my mind. Such is the experience of my travel here in Myanmar.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.