The Kuthudaw Pagoda in Mandalay is surrounded by 729 Stupas
Within each stupa, marble slabs hold inscriptions that make up the world’s largest book.
Other than the monks that tend the site, the pagoda is an amazingly quiet site with very few tourists.
Even with all its tradition, Mandalay is a city of change, with lotteries juxtaposed next to temples and a large gold market attracting tourists on the lookout for inexpensive jewelry. But those who plan to buy gold in Mandalay should ask whether the gem inset is real. Many times the gold is real but the gem is not and likewise, real gems are often set in cheap gilded metal. So ask the vendor what’s real.
“You will find happiness in accepting an apology that is never given.” At the time I read that quote in the New Delhi airport, I didn’t know I’d be moving from High Tech to Higher Conscious and surrounded by such reminders my entire stay in India.
On an average, 75% of the Indian population is Hindu and an additional 5% is Buddhist, Jen, and Sikh, which are considered offshoots of Hindu. Muslims, many from Bangladesh and across adjacent borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan, make up the remaining 20%. Religious clashes in India are like race problems in the US, except you can’t tell a person’s religion from their dress.
Men wear dhoti pants and women seem to float in beautiful saree and dupatia veils (note saree refers to dress that is wrapped whereas sari is one that is stitched to shape)
Recently, in Uttar Pradesh, a young couple, she a Hindi of a middle caste and he a Muslim of a low caste fell in love. The parents found them together and in a rage killed both. The parents were given a jail sentence of 14 years.
The Hindu religion is very complex and the deities are not only numerous but also humorous: an elephant with a gift for doling out wealth and a woman with multiple arms stabbing a demon child are a couple of their most revered deities. But who am I to pass judgment on their gods? I’m sure they would question why we honor a man who’s pictured with his face full of blood from a crown of thorns.
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