Burmese donate hair to repair pagoda road

Head start

A Myanmar woman has her hair cut as others wait their turn during a fund-raising campaign. AP

Quoting the chief abbot of Mandalay’s Naga monastery, Shin Wayama Nanda, Kumudra magazine has reported that some 30,000 women and more than 100 men from the central city of Mandalay and nearby towns have donated hair. And, some of the locks measured four feet in length.

Monks overseeing the upkeep of the remote Alaungdaw Kathapha pagoda will use proceeds from the sale of the hair to repair sections of a road and build bridges leading to the popular pilgrimage site, which is said to contain the remains of one of Buddha’s disciples.

The hair will be used in wigs or dolls, or it can be sold to traders from China for similar purposes. In fact, the campaign has spread to Yangon, the largest city in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. Access to the pagoda in the country’s northwest is difficult.

Some sections of the route can be reached only by foot or on elephant.

“With the money acquired from the sale of hair, sections of the 25-kilometre road (will be repaired) and 15 small and medium-length bridges will be built,” Nanda was quoted as saying.

One span will be called the “Shwe Hsan Nwe bridge” or “Bridge of Golden Tresses”.

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