Several of Yangon’s prominent temples were made during the years of the military regime. They are not very popular with the locals. When we visited the Chauk Htat Gyi temple it was immediately obvious why. The place looked like a huge hangar, and the enormous, 66 meters long, statue of the reclining Buddha entirely lacked aesthetic sense. The only interesting photo I could think of was to take a reflection of the hangar in the glass eye of the Buddha, as you can see here. Annoyingly, from the photos displayed in the temple, it seems that an older image was demolished because it looked too aggressive, and the new one put in its place. Maybe the new one looks better, but it is more impressive than beautiful.
Since the place is cool, people like to hang out. I found it more interesting to do some people watching. There were lovers together, a schoolgirl with her books, an old man at prayer, and a reclining man. Then there was a little vend being minded by an old lady with a younger woman at her side, perhaps her daughter. When I took their photo the younger one smiled and the old lady looked very suspicious. She was probably not very fond of foreigners, because she said something funny about me and burst into peals of laughter. It must not have been nice, because the younger woman refused to meet her eye. This byplay gave me a couple of wonderful photos.
The reclining Buddha is an image of the death of Gautama, the Buddha. In Buddhism this is a happy occasion because the Buddha is then freed from the cycle of life and enters a state of nirvana. The scene is sometimes called the Mahaparinirvana.