China - Yunnan province - Xishuang Bana - The White pagoda at the Manfeilang monastery
As one enters the monastic complex, ones is welcomed by a shrine and a standing Buddha with a raised hand in a gesture of reassurance and blessing to visitors, The "parasol" over his head indicates the supremacy of Buddhism. The central figure of the Manfeilang Monastery ( of the Dai denomination) is the White Pagoda which lies on elevated ground on the banks of the Mekong river in south west Yunnan province. Dai monasteries are built in the centre of a village or as in this case outside on higher ground.
Built in 1204, the Manfeilang monastery complex is in fact a cluster of nine pagodas or stupas, to enshrine what is purported to be the Buddha’s footprint. The whole ensemble forms a fusion of Southeast Asian Buddhist style with typical Dai architecture. It is popular for Buddhist pilgrims from the surrounding region which attracts thousands during the Tan Ta Festival in late October early November each year. In this region and in these Dai and Sino-Burmese monasteries, Theravada Buddhism is the religion that is practiced.