11 spectacular pictures that show an enchanted spirit of Burma
Burma’s core is vibrant antique temples and golden pagodas, dedicated nuns and monks, peaceful lakes and rivers, decorated hillside tribes, and lively markets. As a daring global traveler and photographer, I was looking for the most exquisite, pristine civilizations on the earth, which brought me to this fascinating country.
From the moment I first set foot in this magical land, I fell under its spell.
It was one of the most intriguing nations I’d had the pleasure of seeing – a photographer’s dream. In the most artistic way possible, I hoped to convey the essence of the lovely Burmese people, their magical traditions, and enigmatic rituals.
The magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda and its 60 tons of gold, crowned with a 76-carat diamond, took my breath away. I was amazed by the breathtaking vista of Bagan’s more than 2,200 temples and stupas peeking through the various layers of mist from a hot air balloon.
The site is quite extraordinary; the surrounding land is very dry and flat, with farmer’s smoke and mist billowing over rice, bean, and sesame fields as far as the eye can see.
I saw the Sea Gypsies in the Andaman Sea flying in the air to spear their daily meal of fish and the colorful onion farmers on the Chindwin River who looked like an impressionistic painting in the rural landscape.
The Moken, often known as Sea Gypsies, are one of Burma’s 135 different ethnic tribes. They are a nomadic, seafaring people whose traditional ways of existence are under threat as they become more exposed to the Western world. I was on a boat in the Andaman Sea, watching guys spear their daily fish dinner.
I learnt that the Chin tribe tattoos their faces to disfigure their beauty and keep them from being abducted, but Naga warriors dress in strong headgear to display their fierceness. One might spend a lifetime tracking down and documenting the various tribes’ adorned bodies.
There were also many excursions to remote temples and monasteries filled with finely carved statues. During the daily processional, I heard the pink-robed nuns chanting as if angels were singing and assisted the monks in collecting money and donations. I rode the squeaky trains, which were always an adventure.
They are kind, caring, funny, and strong. I’ve visited this nation several times, yet I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface in terms of finding its fascinating riches and diverse peoples. Each time you visit, it threads its way into your spirit and touches your heart.
Women wearing distinctive head coverings smoke cheroot (a large maize leaf stuffed with tobacco, tamarind, honey, and palm leaf bud) while chatting about their daily lives, with smoke streaming in and out of bamboo houses. Chewing betel nuts is a widespread activity among the indigenous, as seen by their redstained teeth.
Burma is a one-of-a-kind phenomenon. There are just too many historical sites and interesting places to visit to mention them all. It is my hope that these images will inspire you and help you fall in love with this wonderful country.
Burma’s marvels will capture you, whether you immerse yourself in its thousand-year-old temples, are charmed by the ubiquitous monks elegantly sliding in and out of monasteries and marketplaces, or are thrilled by the smiling smiles of women and children with their thanaka-brushed faces.