Picturesque exploration in the hot-land of Myanmar, Monywa

Written by – Karlos Charliton

One day sightseeing in Monywa can make you explore the picturesque destinations, their religious culture and local lifestyle of the residents. Having high temperature even in winter which ranges around 21 degree Celsius, Monywa and surrounding regions have dry and hot climate. Monywa, the capital and the largest city of Sagaing division is known as the trade road to India. Moreover, you’ll see the plantation of sesame, chillies, onions, beans, oranges and betel vine according to the season while sightseeing the city. The seasonal time to visit there is from October to April. Because of hot climate, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and hats when you go there.

How to get there

Monywa is available by car, by train or even with water transport in seasonal time. Among them, transportation by bus is the most convenient way to use. Situated at the side of Chin-dwin River, one of the four main rivers of Myanmar which is about 650 miles long and has gold and copper mines up the river, water transport is important and essential although the navigable distance depends on seasonal time. In most condition, Monywa is visited as via some destinations like Bagan or Pakkoku.

Monyin Thanboddhe Pagoda

The most prominent thing as soon as you see the pagoda is the colorful design and attractive architecture. You may even wonder whether it is the Buddhist temple or not because of its unusual design and color. Instead of typical Buddhist temple design, it’s more look like Indonesia’s Borobuda Buddhist temple and some Hindu temples. Colorful design and distinct architecture are the reason to be famous in its way and will make your photographs attractive and make the viewers curious about it and motivate them to visit. It was constructed in 1939 leaded by the chief monk called Monyin Sayardaw, who designed and managed the pagoda. You will amaze the chief monk’s creation when you see this colorful distinct pagoda existing as the glorious one among the trees and composing over half a million Buddha images both in and out of the pagoda. Apart from that colorful one, there are also other attractions like the clock tower, the museum, the meditation hall, local souvenir shops and so on.



Pho Win Taung or Pho Win Hill

Before seeing that destination, the words that awake your curiosity are “hidden caves under the forest”. About 25 km far from Monywa, Pho Win Taung or Pho Win Hill is famous for its numerous caves, ancient Buddha images and mural paintings. Actually, over 900 caves were all man-made dating about 13 Century with the intention of hiding from enemy or the fort during the wars of previous eras. Later on, the caves were filled with Buddha images and mural paintings. One amazing thing is that all Buddha images are carved from the cave body or wall, not carried the readymade ones from the outside. Some images are gilded while some are in reddish brown color. Besides, the caves walls are decorated with mural paintings which are about the Buddha life and history, 550 stories of Buddha, the lifestyle and the art of that era in almost all caves, consequently being the place of the richest mural paintings. It’s said that Buddha images and picturesque mural paintings were dated around 16 Century. If you’ve been to Bagan, you can compare them with mural paintings of Bagan although Pho Win Hill’s mural paintings are more damaged contrast to that of Bagan. Not only the interior design but also the exterior design of all caves are unique and distinct. Every cave has respective names, histories and intentions. Another activity apart from exploration of caves, images and paintings is feeding monkeys in the forest and around the caves which will ask you to feed them while exploring with short trekking.




Baw Dhi Ta Htaung Monastery

The world’s second tallest standing Buddha image which is about 116 meters long  and the huge reclining Buddha image about 101 meters long and other large pagoda will recognize you that you reach the Baw Dhi Ta Htaung monastery. It’s said that the first one is constructed in 1995 and finished in 2008, the second reclining one is established in 1991 and the third one is the earliest one built in 1979. The term Baw Dhi Ta Htaung means thousands of baw dhi trees which is one kind of banyan tree and the religious sign for Buddhists because Buddha enlightened beneath that kind of tree. The monastery is founded by the monk called Maha Bawdhi Ta Htaung Sayardaw in 1960. Not only the giant Buddha images but also over thousands of baw dhi trees in the Buddha gardens at the foot of the hill can be seen. It is because of one amazing idea of founder monk that every time you build the Buddha image, you have to plant one baw dhi tree at the same time, one tree for one small Buddha image. The founder monk created this idea and this has been existing until now by filling with thousands of baw dhi trees and Buddha images in Buddha garden year by year.


One day sightseeing is short but exploration in Monya will make you wonder about all of the above amazing ideas and make you revise about those whenever you think this visit. Colorful designed pagoda with attractive architecture, giant Buddha images with awesome idea, ancient man made caves, Buddha images and mural paintings make you feel worthy as via destination and feel different from usual visit.