26 January 2012

Touching Touristy Ancient Bagan

From the 9th to 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed; up to 200,000 people lived there.

The Bagan Archaeological Zone is a main draw for the country's tourism industry. It is seen by many as equal in attraction to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, Burmese man, Burmese monk, Buddhist monk, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, maroon robe

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, thanaka face cosmetic

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, thanaka face cosmetic

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, thanaka face cosmetic

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, beautiful young Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, thanaka face cosmetic


Thanaka is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of Burma's culture, seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls. Thanaka has been used by Burmese women for over 2,000 years. It has a fragrant scent somewhat similar to sandalwood. The creamy paste is applied to the face in attractive designs, the most common form being a circular patch on each cheek.

Why do Buddhist monks shave their heads? According to a legend, when the Buddha left his palace to seek a way beyond ageing, sickness and death, it is said that one of the first things that he did was to shave off his hair and beard and put on a yellow cloth. Buddhist monks always completely shave their head and beard, showing their commitment to the Holy Life aka Brahmacariya...

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, Burmese man, Burmese monk, Buddhist monk pulling out his facial hair, people, street portrait, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, old Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, old Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, homemade Burmese cigar

Burma, Myanmar, Bagan, old Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, homemade Burmese cigar

Street portraits of local people from Bagan in Matt Hahnewald's

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