monks and temples of bagan

In January 2014, I visited Bagan in the Mandalay region of Myanmar after seeing beautiful footage of the ancient city in the documentary Samsara.  Between the 9th and 13th centuries, it was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom.  During the kingdom's height, more than 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed, of which more than 2,200 structures survive to the present day.

My visit coincided with the annual Ananda Temple Festival, where people from all over the region descend on the city, and set up camp around the temple.  During the week long festival, 1000 monks continuously chant scriptures for 72 hours.  On the morning of the day of the full moon, alms are offered to the monks en masse in an extensive ceremony.

I also had the opportunity to take my first ever hot air balloon flight.  The scenery of thousands of Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries make for the perfect backdrop for such an experience.

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