We climbed the stairs to a viewing balcony along with other tourists and watched as groups of followers assembled at different levels of the stepped nave according to their level of achievement towards Nirvana.
One lone gentleman of advancing years had made it the furthest and sat on level five or thereabouts.
Throughout the service, the followers were overshadowed by the all-seeing eye symbol, there in a triangle on every window and on a large earth-like sphere above the altar.
After around half an hour of chanting accompanied by drums and a reedy wind instrument of some kind, the followers got to their feet and processed out of the hall. We did the same and went outside to find a small crisis
Whilst we had been inside, a heavy rainstorm had caused a flood outside and all the shoes had floated away! Many were searching for their flipflops in vain - and what about ours?
Fortunately, Vinh, our guide had foreseen the potential problem and had rushed outside and rescued them. Who knew that he'd be able to recognise our shoes amongst the many? Good man!!