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Velvia #2 016 | by Kelly Cheng
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Velvia #2 016

Balloon over Dhammayangyi Temple.


Dhammayangyi is the largest temple in Bagan. Unlike other temples that look tall and elegant, Dhammayangyi appears stout with its pyramid shape and dome-like top. The temple is shrouded in mystery as its entire innermost passage was intentionally filled with brick rubbles centuries ago.


As I step into the temple, a pungent stench of bats' urine assaults my nasal senses. The high ceiling and poor natural lighting in the temple make it a favourite sanctuary for the bats during the day. At every temple, I always turn left and visit the four Buddha images in a clockwise direction. Despite the stench and the squeals from the bats, I want to do the same at Dhammayangyi. I am about halfway through as I turn the second corner. The passageway in front of me looks long and dark. The squeaky sounds from the bats originate from the high niche halfway down the corridor and are particularly loud. I proceed tentatively. I am alone and it feels really spooky. The eerie squeals get louder the closer I am to the central niche. Then my courage flees and I run back to the corner. I try to calm down and make another attempt. I abort it again and finally exit the temple. Fresh air and sunlight never feel so good.


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In case anyone is wondering, the colours are almost direct from the slide, I just remove the slight colour cast, nothing else.

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Taken on February 16, 2007