Friday, May 19, 2017

Myanmar Is restoring temples to rebuild its religious heritage

By Mike Ives
Hot air balloons flying over the temples of Bagan, Myanmar, in March. Credit Minzayar Oo for The New York Times
BAGAN, Myanmar — The vendor watched as members of an increasingly rare species — tourists — walked through a dirt parking lot toward Pyathat Gyi Temple, one of more than 2,000 religious monuments here on a riverside plain in central Myanmar. Many of Bagan’s monuments were restored by Myanmar’s former military government in the 1990s, after a previous earthquake, in a way that international experts criticized as heavy-handed. Bagan’s monument complex is a crown jewel in a tourism sector that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and has grown rapidly since Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country, began a rocky transition toward democracy in 2011. [link]
Pilgrims at Pyathat Gyi Temple. Credit Minzayar Oo for The New York Times