Elephants No. 33 and 34 – Mawlamyine, Burma

These elephants I am about to show you, my dear reader, are in fact not single elephants but two groups of elephants found in temples to the south of Mawlamyine that we visited on a day trip. We enjoyed our stay in Mawlamyine, not just because of its slow pace, glittering golden stupas, and stunning sunsets over the river, but because it made a great base for such day trips. Burma is full of weird and wonderful things – another sight visited on such a day trip was a temple based around a series of rocks balanced precariously on top of each, painted gold.  But onto the elephants…

Elephant No. 33 – Win Sein Taw Ya reclining Buddha 

Just enormous


This reclining Buddha on a hillside was surreal enough in its own right. But inside the Buddha were four floors of concrete statues depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life, many of which featured elephants. Some of these scenes (presumably of hell?) were pretty violent, but all were very colourful. Many seemed unfinished.

An elephant watches over a meditating Buddha


An elephant in a procession – it would have been nice to know a little more about the stories from these scenes…



This elephant is rather violently stamping on someone


Another violent scene – someone has their innards torn out


One of several “works in progress” – but no signs of anyone working on them. No idea how long they had been like this…


The majority of scenes were like this – the Buddha dispensing unknown wisdom


Elephant No. 34 – Law Ka Nar Hta

Me at the elephant fountain

Another temple we visited on a trip out of Mawlamyine – quite by chance as we glimpsed the gold stupa through the trees and stopped to take a look. It also housed a giant reclining Buddha, though this time insides, and not quite as big as the one at Win Sein Taw Ya. Outside among various temple buildings were a variety of animal statues, including this nice, playful elephant statue. I’m afraid I have no idea how the animals relate to the worship in the temple, but as with so many things in Burma, why not?

Burma does love its plus-sized Buddhas…


Another Buddha under construction we passed on our way back to Mawlamyine…



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