Highlights by Rob Hodges

Blooming Buddhas

On our way out of Mandalay, during a tour of nearby Sagaing Hill, Inwa, and Amarapura, the driver my wife and I had hired stopped on a dust-filled road. Along both sides of the street, extending a couple blocks, was storefront after storefront where Buddha statues are made. We were told this stretch of Myanmar’s second-largest city produces most of the Buddhas in the world. I don't know if that's true, but each shop spilled out to the street with hundreds of marble Buddhas in various states of progress.

Less a market than a manufacturing zone, you could nonetheless purchase a (heavy) Buddha on the spot. They ranged in style and size, from a simple figure that would sit on a mantle to a giant, exquisite piece that would adorn a temple. We strolled around for a while, marveling at the craftsmen at work in various shops—carving unfinished faces, sanding bodies, painting jewelry or hair. It was fun to think of all the places we had been in our travels where these statues might one day travel to.

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Mandalay, Republic of the Union of Myanmar
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