Labelled as the unofficial capital for Buddhism in Myanmar, Mandalay is drenched with samples of witnessing the faithful in their daily lives. In addition, the cultural and administrative capital of upper Myanmar, its strategic location along the Ayarwaddy, it has playing a crucial role in how the country has emerged as a spiritual destination. As the last seat of the former Kingdom, it was primarily King Mindon who has set the tone for turning Mandalay into the place it is now. Aside from Mandalay itself with is temples and pagodas, the neighbouring towns of Amarapura and Sagaing are still considered important centres of Buddhism, with many great pagodas and monasteries. We are following in the bare footsteps of the life of a monk during this early morning tour option, where all the steps of what entails monkhood are captured.
Before breakfast and with the sun rising above the horizon, your English speaking guide and driver welcome you at your hotel. To witness the life of a monk, one has to wake up early in the morning as the day commences with the Soon Offering, better known as the morning ritual of giving alms. We head out to a local region of Mandalay where you will witness and partake in this daily ritual. The slow pace of these saffron-clad representatives of the Lord Buddha is a true testament on how deeply rooted Buddhism is embedded in society. Return back to your hotel.
After breakfast at your hotel, we continue our path towards monkhood. The due diligence of becoming a monk includes a visit to a monk accessory shop. Aside from giving up some of society’s privileges, a monk is obliged to purchase 8 essential elements before making its way into a monastery. Besides these must-haves, choosing the exact date to enter the monkhood play an importance part in the decision making – a visit to an astrologer is part of the preparation work for a prospect monk. During our morning explorations, the philosophy behind picking the right date will pass the revue. Finally, we make our way into a monastery. For many Burmese boys, monasteries are the sole option to get some education and we may witness seeing novices and monks gaining knowledge. The day end with seeing the final meal of the day passed on, taken in total silence. The almost palatable serenity that hangs around the compound after their final meal marks the end of this interesting morning excursion. Your guide and driver bring you back to your hotel where you will arrive at around 11:00 hrs.