Burma – The Golden Land

michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-7189Pa-O women wearing a traditional black tunic and a brightly colored turban. The turbans are often simply scarves or towels bought at local markets and then are wrapped in a traditional style. According to an old legend the Pa-O are descendants of a father who was a supernatural being and a mother who was a dragon. The women’s trademark turban is a manifestation of the creation myth. The Pa-O, also known as Taungthu, are the second most numerous ethnic group in Burma’s Shan-State.

michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-5662Sunrise in Bagan. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Bagan (also known as Pagan), the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Burma. The city is home to more than 2,000 sacred buildings in an area of about 36 square kilometers. Most of the Pagodas and temples are made out of bricks. During the height of the Kingdom of Bagan, heirs and rich Buddhist believers were building temples and Pagodas to honor Buddha.

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michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-6241The isolated mountains of Burma’s Chin state are home to a number of hill tribes that have been separated from modern world for centuries. Chin women used to follow the thousand-year-old tradition of tattooing their faces.

michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-5010A father has just taken an image of the Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma’s most sacred place, and shows it to his daughter. The Golden Pagoda is said to enshrine eight strands of Buddha’s hair inside.

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michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-6679The isolated mountains of Burma’s Chin state are home to a number of hill tribes that have been separated from modern world for centuries. Chin women used to follow the thousand-year-old tradition of tattooing their faces.

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michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-5368Burmese girls walking a bridge on Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon. In the back the famous Karaweik, a replica of a Burmese royal barge, can be spotted.

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MichaelBiach_30picsfromBurma-4982.jpgIn Buddhism the most important date is the weekday you are born. There are eight days a week (wednesday is divided in two parts, before and after midday). Around Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda eight statues of Buddha along with the relevant animal for the day of birth are situated clockwise. Buddhist believers go to their birthday corner and water the Buddha and the animal to gain merit for the afterlife.

michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-5444Buddhist nuns walk around Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma’s most sacred site. The Golden Pagoda is said to enshrine eight strands of Buddha’s hair inside.

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michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-1000718Man praying at Golden Rock, a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon-State. According to legend, Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of Buddha’s hair.

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michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-7416Crab fisher at Chaungtha.

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michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-7002School kids in Mingun, a small town near Mandalay, which is famous for the Mingun temple, a monumental uncompleted stupa began by King Bodawpaya in 1790. The kids wear Tanaka, a paste made out of wood to protect against the sun. The colorful bags are their schoolbagas. School pupils wear a uniform, green trousers or skirts with white shirts.

michaelbiach_30picsfromburma-7141The Intha’s unique rowing style while fishing. The Inle Lake is Burma’s second largest freshwater lake with an estimated surface of 116 km2 and a length of 22 km. The lake is inhabited by many different tribes, predominantly of Intha but also of Pa-O, Kayah, Bamar and others. The Intha live in various small villages along the lake’s shores and in houses build on stilts in the lake itself. They are famous for their unique rowing style where the fishermen stand on the boat’s stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. Women row in the customary style, using the oar with their hands.

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