| Taunggyi, Myanmar | 7 Feb 2016 | Asia Samachar |
A group of Singapore bikers who went deep into Myanmar had the pleasure of sipping tea when at a gurdwara in Taunggyi in the state of Shan.
“Managed to locate a Sikh temple in Taunggyi. One of the biggest temples in Myanmar. The local Sikh community hosted us very warmly,” says biker Surinder Pal Singh in a Facebook update.
Taunggyi is about 260km from Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar and the economic hub of upper Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
SEE ALSO: Gurdwara in Monywa, Myanmar
Surinder Pal and his group of friends took on their bike trip into the middle of Myanmar via Thailand.
“There are about 150 of them in Taunggyi. They were very nice made for us tea. Was a welcome break, missed cha for a week,” Surinder Pal tells Asia Samachar via a Facebook message.
He believes the gurdwara was built in 1998.
“Most of the Sikh community left after the Japanese occupation. Most of the current Sikh community are businessmen. They are into auto, tyre and retail shops, and tailoring,” he adds.
The Taunggyi gurdwara is about 30m from Inle Lake.
Sikh migration to Burma started in the 19th century with British Indian Army. At present only about 48 Gurdwaras exist, one third of which are non-operative and some are having just one or two families living and managing the place, according to an article entitled ‘A Tale of Exemplary Loyalty to Faith’ by Swarn Singh Kahlon, which appeared in The Sikh Review (Kolkata, February, 2014).
In his update on the trip, Surinder Pal writes: “We passed thru tribal villages. I stopped once to take pictures of the tribal people and they all ran away. They are not used to the sight of foreigners more so on big bikes. I managed to take a sneak picture of two of them though. Things got creepy after, with drums beating in the village as if signalling an intruder. Started my bike and rode off quickly. Saw lots of guys in civilian clothes with rifles or machine guns slung on their backs but they did not bother us. The visibility in the mountains dropped to 15 meters and temperature 10 degrees. Glad that no one fell off the mountains and we made it out in one piece.”
In his update, he says Myanmar had surpassed all their expectations as it was packed with adventure.
“We crossed into Myanmar on Feb 1 after a gruelling 2 day ride from Singapore totalling almost 2400km. Shan state turned out to be the cream of the crop. Especially the Northern region,” he says.
[For more photos/updates, see the Facebook page of Surinder Pal Singh]
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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