Bagan - Kyauk Gu U Min temple

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To reach the Kyauk Gu U Min temple we had to take a boat ride up the Irrawaddy River in the direction of Mandalay. The jetty area was simply a sand bank but the river was quiet in the late afternoon so we had a smooth, but noisy, trip. Not too much to see along the river but these photos will show you how flat and sandy the land is. The river rises several feet during the rainy season and these sand banks will be covered in water. Depending on the position of the sun relative to the camera lens, the colour schemes appear quite different, but these photos were taken over a similar time period.

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This was the landing point and pathway to the temple.

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The Kyauk Gu U Min temple is a unique cave-like temple built into the surrounding sandstone. The external walls have sandstone carvings which is rare in Bagan with most temples being covered in plaster. I believe this temple was built by a famous monk but I am not clear about his story. We walked on the sandy floor inside, bending lower and lower as the cave tunnels got progressively smaller and hotter. And Lawrence was left hobbling for the rest of the trip as he discovered the hazards of going barefoot.

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When we got back to the boat, the sun was starting to go down and the sky was a beautiful colour. You can see more of the sunset views by clicking on this link.

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We could now safely sit out on deck for the return journey. Here’s a photo of me and our lovely guide, May. It was not really black darkness but Lawrence playing with an app on his phone.

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Getting on and off this boat was not so easy!  The metal ladder bent under our weight and the muddy ground awaiting us was not inviting. One false move and we’d be in trouble! It’s easy to see why the locals wear sarongs/longhis and walk in plastic flip flops; much more practical than our clothes. On alightly from our second boat trip, I did lose my balance and only the strong arm of our driver stopped my bottom ending up in the water. Instead I landed on the squashy mud with no sense of dignity.

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© Helen Gray 2020