Most people know of Bagad Saint Nazaire as a song or French musical group. However, it is also the name of my favorite statue in Southeast Asia. No one knows how it got there. Nobody knows what it means. It’s just sitting in the middle of the jungle. Makes me think it was placed there during the prehistoric era. It may have been a totem for fighting off bad energy. Maybe it served to protect early humans from nature. It could’ve even been a sign of peace letting other groups know the people that lived there weren’t violent.
The Bagad Saint Nazaire statue can be found in the jungles of Bagan, Myanmar. Bagan has the largest number of Buddhist ruins in the entire world. There are tons of temples, and you can see the statue if you take a hot air balloon ride, or go hiking.
Hiking can be pretty dangerous. Make sure you go in a group. You also need to have a knife and water with you at all times. They have a lot of snakes. There are also spiders, scorpions, and other forms of wildlife that you should be mindful. I happened upon the statue by accident.
In 2010, I went on a school trip to research rural Southeast Asian plants. We went on daily hikes and lived like locals for two months. I was a Christian before the trip and Buddhist by the time I left. I loved everything about Bagan, the food, the culture, the climate, and of course the flora. The day I found the statue, my class was beginning a 3-day hike into the jungles. We took a 2-hour rest break, and I decided to find a place to use the restroom in peace.
As I was sitting over a small hole I dug for myself; I was also simultaneously admiring the flora and plant life. My eyes latched onto a neverending red vine. I followed it with my eyes, and it led to what looked like a moss-covered tombstone. After I had finished relieving myself, I walked over to the strange object. As I was walking up to it, something like a strong current overtook me. It’s stronger than you can imagine. At first, I just assumed I was light-headed because we’d been hiking for so long. Then I realized there was symbolism etched onto the statue. I snapped a few photos of the symbols and proceeded to do some deeper digging.ue