We both woke up very sweaty – we thought the electricity had been off all night and then we realised that the electricity was on but someone had turned our switch off outside the room – not very amused!! Headed over to the same restaurant as last night to get some breakfast. Jayne got herself a plain pancake and then proceeded to smear her slightly melted snickers bar into it!!! I had a omelette and toast – I’m so boring!! We then walked into the temple complex to visit the Maya Devi temple. According to Buddhist scholars, this temple sits on the site of the birth of Buddha. Excavations carried out in 1992 revealed a succession of ruins dating back at least 2200 years. The ruins are protected by a raised boardwalk and there is a nativity carving in sandstone representing the birth of Buddha. Even though it was faded, you can see the shape of Maya Devi holding onto a tree and giving birth to Buddha as Indra and Brahma look on. Directly beneath the sandstone nativity, encased in bulletproof glass, pinpoints the spot where Buddha was born. Just outside the temple is the sacred lake which is where the Maya Devi is believed to have bathed before she gave birth. It is now slightly green and has a few resident terrapins living in it! Dotted around the grounds are the ruined foundations of a number of brick stupas and monasteries dating from the 2nd century BC to the 9th century AD. Most of the trees in the grounds were covered in prayer flags and it was great wandering around listening to them flutter in the trees and made us think about the prayer flags we’d left up at EBC… Just as we were leaving, a man slipped and fell into the sacred lake – now I know I shouldn’t have laughed but it was very ‘you’ve been framed’ and it still makes me chuckle even as I wrote about it!!! We then began slowly walking up the canal towards the World Peace Pagoda. Took us about an hour to reach the impressive gleaming white pagoda which was constructed by Japanese Buddhists and reportedly cost $1 million. Was delightfully deserted as we walked around, looking at the golden statue that depicts the Buddha in the posture he assumed at birth. Our bare feet were slightly burning on the white floor, reminding us of Anuradhapura and the scoring heat there!! At the entrance to the World Peace Pagoda is a pond filled with peach coloured water lilies. We found a shady spot to drink some water and enjoy the view. Began our walk back to the monastery complex with some children following us and pestering us for money… A ‘little chat’ from Jayne and we were on our way, child-free!!! Visited the Vietnamese monastery which is currently under some reconstruction but the guards still allowed us to go in. A charming pagoda-style temple featuring beautiful landscaping and a dragon decorated roof, we were really fortunate and saw 4 of the protected rare sarus cranes in the grounds. We then headed over to the Korean monastery which is beautifully simple on the inside. It was very peaceful watching someone meditating inside the temple, ruined slightly by an Indian man using his mobile (loudly) just outside the temple door. Made our way back to the hotel, realising that we’d walked over 15kms today… Oops! No wonder we were exhausted!! Rested for a bit before typing up some more blogs. Went to the restaurant recommended by the hotel owners for dinner – the momos were amazing – before going back to the room to watch a few episodes of ‘Friends’. Went to sleep with electricity (and more importantly, the fan!!! Until about midnight… Then back to the sweat fest!!).
Sunday 1st May 2016