Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Shwe Lan Excerpt: Shan State

The Meditator Guidebook to Burma is in its final stages! As the guide gets closer to publication, we will begin to share excerpts of what yogis may expect... some sneak previews of what is to come. here is one paragraph taken from the Introduction to the Shan State section:
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Life in Shan can be a welcoming change from the Bamar regions: the weather is cooler, the food tastier, the population sparser, the scenery more hilly and less arid, and even the tea is fresher and the air more refreshing. This last comment is confirmed as far back ago as 1899 by the British writer M.M. Shoemaker in Quaint Corners of Ancient Empires, where he wrote that “the air here is full of freshness, every breath being charged with life and health—a wonderful change from the languid, heavy atmosphere of Rangoon.” And this is not just one chance comment: 20 years later, Boxwallah recorded in The Leopard’s Leap that upon entering the Shan states, “the air was filled with the fresh scent of wild cherry, wild apple, almond, peach, and many a flowering shrub.” The Shan regions were indeed well-known by the British who lived here, and it was alternatively called the “Switzerland of the East” and an “Asian Arcady,” the latter term after the fabled region in the central Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. As Philip Fogarty, the British Resident for the Shan States declared, “I live in an earthly paradise!” Noted British authors W. Somerset Maugham and Leslie Milne wrote books about their own unique experience in the Shan states in the early 20th century, and as one recent author noted, “from Taunggyi to Maymyo, in cosy bungalows and gracious mansions, the British officials discovered a world of crisp mountain air, dazzling sunshine and blossoming trees.”
A remote cave in Shan State, not far from Pindaya, one of many sites to be covered in "Shwe Lan"