Myanmar's attractions lie largely in the area of the spiritual. Temples, pagodas and historical sites boasting so many attractions that it would be impossible to take them in during a single visit. With friendly locals, a tropical climate, cheap transportation and truly awesome sights, Myanmar is a fascinating and bewitching destination.
|Bagan||Inle Lake Area||Pindaya Caves||Kalaw|
Bagan is located at the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, with over two thousands and two hundred religious monuments still standing and some two thousands in ruin conditions. This once splendid and glorious capital of the first Myanmar Empire, built between 9th and 11th century, can be specified as one of the richest archeological sites in Southeast Asia. It is the most amazing site in Myanmar, which is dotted with thousands of ancient pagodas, shrines, ordination halls and monuments. Visitors can embark on a spiritual and historical journey by going from one temple to another as all the buildings are beautifully and uniquely designed. Once in Bagan, the tourist can enjoy the spectacular views from the bucket of the Bagan hot air balloon. Bagan is also home to Myanmar's archaeological museum, as well as the highly revered Mount Popa.
Shwezigon Pagoda is considered as Bagan's most significant shrine. It is said that the structure was built to enshrine one of the four replicas of the Buddha’s tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The construction was started by King Anawrahta, but the project was not completed until the rule of King Kyanzittha.
Dhammayangyi Temple is one of the four major Bagan monuments and ranks alongside Shwezigon Pagoda, Ananda Temple and Thatbyinnyu Temple in importance. Its grandiose architectural plan is similar to Ananda Temple and was built by King Narathu, also known as Kalagya Min, 'the king killed by Indians.
Gawdawpalin Temple is one of the biggest shrines in Bagan, and the most imposing because of the Buddha images to be found on the ground floor. The building of the two-storey temple was commenced by King Narapatisithu but it was his son who completed the construction. The name of the temple means 'the throne which has worshipped.
Thatbyinnyu Temple is the highest temple in Bagan with 61-metre tall. The towering structure gets its name from the Omniscience of the Buddha, as ‘thatbyinnyu’ means omniscience in the Myanmar language. Built in the 12th century by King Alaungsithu, it is one of the earliest examples of two-storey temples.
Mount Popa, considered as one of the most popular pilgrimage spots in Myanmar, is an extinct volcano where the Popa Taungkalat Monastery is found. A visit to Bagan would not be complete without a trip to Mount Popa. Popa used to be called the ‘Mountain of Spirits,’ and is still recognized as a dwelling of 'nats,' or spirits of ancient ancestors.
Bagan Archaeological Museum was officially opened in 1998. Tourists who want to explore the history of Old Bagan can visit the museum to see objects used during the Bagan period. The first floor houses the showrooms for visual arts and coiffures of court ladies, while the second floor has display rooms with religious themes. The opening hours are from 09:30 to15:00 daily except Mondays and public holidays.
Inle Lake, a huge lake over Shan State Highland, beautifully located at the base of steep green hills, is remarkable because of its inhabitants. This vast picturesque lake, 900 metres above sea-level, is one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. The lakeshore and lake islands bear 17 villages on stilts, mostly occupied by the Intha people. Thousands of people live around the lake but, most impressively, many live on it. Whole villages rest on stilts surrounded by water. Here the stress is on lovely lake scenery, hazy distant mountains and interesting local society. The vast lake, natural and clean, is studded with floating islands and is renowned for its scenic beauty, unique leg-rowers and colorful local markets. You can hire a boat and travel around the lake, visiting many villages in the lake as well as to the famous floating market (the real floating market for the real Inthas) and floating Phaungdawoo Pagoda. The pagoda festival is held once a year in end of September or early October with famous boat race of Inthas.
Phaungdawoo Pagoda is one of the most recognized shrines in Myanmar. In fact, it is the most sacred pagoda in the whole southern Shan State. It is found in Inle Lake, in the main boat landing in Ywama. The name 'Phaungdawoo' means ‘front of the raft’ in Burmese. The Phaungdawoo is home to five Buddha images, which were said to be donated by King Alaung Sithu. The pagoda was built for the purpose of keeping these Buddha images. A small entrance fee applies.
Inle Floating Gardens: Inle Lake has a unique style of aquaculture. The Inthas live on the lake and also live off of it, thanks to their floating gardens. Intha farmers grow flowers and vegetables such as tomatoes and squash on long strips of floating land. The land is formed through the collection of tangled water hyacinth, weeds and reeds that accumulate on the rim of the lake; the Inthas tie the land down to the bottom of the lake with long bamboo poles.
Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery/ Jumping Cats Monastery is the biggest and oldest monastery in Inle Lake. It is a beautiful wooden structure that was built on stilts over the lake at the end of the 1850s. The monastery is home to a collection of ancient Bagan, Shan, Tibet and Ava-style Buddha images. However, it’s most famous for the jumping cats. An abbot at the monastery has trained the cats to jump through a hoop like in a circus.
Pindaya is a small quiet town balanced on the bank of the placid Botaloke Lake. Pindaya cave is a huge cave where thousands of Buddha images of teak wood, marble, alabaster, brick, cement and lacquer in various size and shape are enshrined since the 11th century. Huge monastery compounds with numerous pagodas and temples in different stages of dilapidation are much respected by such ethnic groups as the Shan, Danu and Paoh living in the environs of Pindaya.
Kalaw, which lies about 71km west of Taunggyi, is a beautiful hill station surrounded by pine trees and forests. This was the popular former British Hill stations. It is at the altitude of 1,320 meters. It is a picturesque village surrounded by pine forests and has some of Myanmar's most beautiful gardens. From Kalaw there are good trekking and hiking possibilities to the neighboring hill tribe villages, which still function the same as they did centuries ago. Fans of natural beauty and peaceful sites will surely get their money's worth. The road leading to Kalaw and Pindaya offer breathtaking sights of the landscape and are somehow reminiscent of the beautiful Alps region in Europe.
|BAGAN AND INLE LAKE AREA|