Wednesday, 25 February 2015 03:50

Sagaing is the religious heart of Theravada Buddhism and known as the “Abode of the Holy Recluses”. It was the place that Shin Arahan came to spread the word about the religion and stayed here under the patronage of King Anawratha. It was also the capital of the Sagaing Kingdom (1315-1364) – one of the minor kingdoms that rose up after the fall of Pagan.

 

Sagaing Hill
37 steep hills and steps connecting 500 ancient pagodas, monasteries and villages.

 

Pone Ya Shin Pagoda
At the summit of Sagaing Hill, this ancient pagoda was built by Minister Pone YaShin in 1312, enjoys a commanding view of ancient and modern-day Sagaing (best viewed at dawn or sunset) and over the Ayeyarwaddy River to Mandalay. Although there is a road to the summit, strong walkers may prefer the 2-hour long hike (or a 1-hour shortcut) up a covered stairway crowded with pilgrims and vendors of sandalwood and colorful papier-mache animals and spirit figures only available at pagodas.

 

Paya Thonzu Pagoda
Contains 45 crescent-shaped identical gilded images of the Buddha (built in 650-1000CE), as well as 30 meditation caves, and frescoes of the life of Buddha.

 

Tilawkaguru Meditation Caves
Built in 1672 at the foot of Sagaing Hill, the caves contain 17th century gilded frescoes.

 

Sitagu International Buddhist Academy and Meditation Centre
International courses given in meditation (www.sitagu.org).  In the middle of the compound is an ornately carved circular pagoda.

 

Zetawun 99 Ogre Pagoda
According to legend, there were 99 ogres of Sagaing Hills which became the first disciples of Buddha.  The ogres built a pagoda which enshrined the Buddha’s lower robe, and it is one of the oldest pagodas in Sagaing.

 

Yadanar Zedi Sinmyar Shin Pagoda
Built by King Mohnyin of Innwa in 792 to enshrine five relics brought by two monks who returned from Sri Lanka. Around the base of the main wall are statues of elephants.

 

Outside Sagaing


Kaung Mu Daw Pagoda
Ca. 1636, the pagoda is known for its unusual egg shaped design which has a circumference of 274 metres, which houses a 7.3 metre seated white marble Buddha.

 

Nwe Nyein village
A traditional clay pot making village which makes the 50 gallon glazed jars that are usually used to store water.

 

Ywah Taung
Here, on the Monywa Road, are silversmith workshops which make exquisite bowls and other silver items using traditional methods.

 

Shwe Mohtaw Pagoda and Shwe Kyat Yet Pagoda
Also known as the Gold Pagoda and Silver Pagoda, they provide great views of Sagaing and the bridge, and you can watch the Ayeyarwaddy river traffic of teak log rafts, rice boats, IRF steamers, and sampans go by.

 

Innwa Bridge
This 20km 16-span bridge was originally built by the British in 1934. It used to be the longest in Myanmar until the Thanlyin Bridge was built in 1993.   The Ayeyarwaddy Bridge was built in 2008 as the old Innwa Bridge could not cope with heavily laden trucks.

 

Thabyedan Fort
Hidden in a dip near the start of Innwa bridge on the Mandalay side is the last Konbaung fort built in 1887 to defend the Konbaung kings in the 3rd Anglo Burmese War.


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