Friday, March 09, 2012

Venerated and Forbidden

Our first site visited was actually the most disappointing place for me on the entire trip. Although not quite sure what we were going to see, we paid the photography fee and walked up the steps leading into a newer Buddhist structure. Men were crowding around and photographing the objects of interest, located in the center of the structure. A sign indicated that women were forbidden from going any further, so we had to wait until some men left before our womanly eyes could lay sight from a distance on the objects of veneration - five smaller Buddha statues. According to our guide, these statues have been laden with so much gold foil over the last few centuries, that their distinguishing features are no longer visible. Pointing to a golden boat with a chicken head in the front, she enthusiastically went on to say that a boating accident once caused the statues to sink to the bottom of the lake, but that one magically found its own way back to the temple, with seaweed still around its ear. Not all that impressed with the statues nor the story, the “golden blobs” became a part of our subsequent animated discussions. 

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