Today was our final road journey before flying to Ngapali Beach tomorrow for 5 full days of beach time. We had a short day which started in Kalaw where we headed East then North to the village of Pindaya. There is a small lake in town where we did a pit stop to have a look and then proceeded up into the nearby hills to visit the Shwe Oo Min natural cave temple.
Before driving up into the mountains we stopped at a local craft shop where they make beautiful umbrellas, writing paper, envelopes, light shades and a multitude of other paper oriented products. The paper is made from the bark of the Mulberry tree. The bark is dried and then soaked in brine for 12 hours. Once soaked the pulp is well, hammered to a pulp for about 15 minutes and then put into a small pot and then stirred. They then take the pulpous sludge, spread it onto a screen submerged in water, spread it around evenly and then drain the water from the screen and set the resultant mash in the sun to dry. The result is Mulberry paper which they peel off of the screen and use for a myriad of applications. One very talented man works in the corner preparing bamboo to use as the umbrellas support and locking mechanism. It’s hard to describe but we were wowed! A very simple procedure to make paper yet so foreign to us.
The Shwe Oo Min cave temple is the same name as the Shwe Oo Min temple we saw outside of Kalaw. It is the She Oo Min Temple Pindaya. It is a huge natural cave that hosts thousands? of Buddha figures in a cavernous mountain cave that stretches probably about 750 metres into the mountainside. Buddhas everywhere! We spent at least an hour in the caves and then caught some fresh air and a view of Pindaya from the cave entrance. I will probably say it later but the people of Myanmar love their Buddhas.