Myanmar has been denoted as Golden land where more than thousands of Golden shining Buddhist monument and Buddhism monuments are established nationwide. From small temples to grand pagoda, interesting cultures, arts and histories are being embedded along with them. However here are top 10 religion monuments which one must visit in Myanmar.
1. Shwedagon pagoda
The graceful 325 ft tall stupa which dated back more than a thousand years ago is the most sacred religious site of Myanmar. Yangon formerly known as Rangoon possess this beautiful pagoda. This stupa structure is storing one of the sacred hair relic of Buddha. This is the iconic place of visiting Yangon. You will explore not only the pilgrimage culture of Myanmar Buddhism, but also the interesting various landmark around the pagoda.
2. Shwetalyaung Buddha
Shwetalyaung (means reclining in Burmese) Buddha is situated in Bago (pegu) city, which is 2 hours drive from Yangon. This city is a former capital of the Mon kingdom and the second Burmese empire between the 1420’s and 1530’s. Visitors who visiting to Bago city must not skip this amazing place. The situated in the west side of town. Measureing 180ft(55m) from head to toe and 52ft(16m) in height, the figure is thought to have been built in 994, although by the time of 1757 when it lay wreathed in jungle and forgetten. Then its renovated after British survey team spotted in 1880’s. The statue’s countenance is meant to convey to worshippers the joy of Buudha experienced on his deathbed at the moment of entering parinivana (passed away to enternity in paliwords) as meaning of his assembled disciples,” All living things are subject to decay, strive with diligence for your liberation. You will have a chance to learn a close look about the Buddha figure. This one is more recommendable then the one in Yangon called (Kyauk htet gyi pagoda).
3. Kyaikhtoyoe Pagoda (Golden rock pagoda)
If you want to see the extraordinary things against the science, you must visit to Kyaikhtiyoe Pagoda. This is one of the most iconic sights in SEA has to offer with its gravity-defying huge rock boulder perched on its ledge above a jungle-cloaked valley. Visitors can be witnessed that this is about to fall but never happened since according to locals, one of the Buddha’s sacred hair relic is stored to be worshipped. This pagoda can also give wonderful seeing, and as well as the environment to reach there is also peaceful. This is situated in Kyaikhto township with 3.5 hours drive toward south in Mon state from Yangon. The experience can be quite adventurous as visitors must use local open truck to reach to the mountain top from the base which is 1 hour drive and its safe.
4. Mahamuni temple
Mahamuni temple is the iconic temple of Mandalay city as well as country’s most second revered shrine after Shwedagon pagoda in Myanmar. This temple house the Mahamuni Buddha image which is made with bronze and said to be one of only five likenesses of the historical Buddha cast in his life time then made 500 years later. You will witness the local pilgrimage activities such as washing the Buddha face and grinding traditional Thanakha (the widely used traditional scented herb) for cleansing the Buddha statue every early morning. Well it has uncertain histories between Mandalay and Arakan(Rakhine) state for very long time.
5. Thanboddhay pagoda (Monywa township, Mandalay division)
This colorful Thanboddhay pagoda is temple in Myanmar which is unlike to any other. The valued founder whos local abbot named Moe-hnyin Sayadaw built in the 1930's as monument to the 512,028 souls who are believed to have achieved Buddhahood in the era of Gautama Buddha. A fabulous concept expressing with Buddha figures both large to small. The structure's exterior is designed with staues in every single component from pillars to ceilings. You will be witnessed the masterpiece of Burmese architecture. This temple is must sightseeing if visitor is choosing second priority of Myanmar glance. This is in Monywa township which is in Mandalay division where 3 hours drive from Mandalay city toward Bagan city.
6. Ananda Temple ( Bagan ancient city)
Bagan is being proud of one saying "Close your eye and point your finger toward any direction, there is always one stupa". 26 sq mile (50 sq km) are called the Bagan archeological compromising more than 9000 pagodas from the old saying. Each monuments has unique wow factors to attract the visitors. Among them, Ananda temple is one of the most stylistically refined and impressive in Bagan. This is one of the most revered by pilgrimage. The four beautiful gilded Buddha’s standing in huge recesses, wonderful stone sculpture and painting, precious green-glazed terra-cotta plaques showcasing the scenes from the Jataka, episodes form the Buddha's life. This was built by King Kyanzittha in 1105.
7.Shwezigon Pagoda(Bagan ancient city)
The Shwezigon Pagoda which is on the outskirts of Bagan archeological zone was Bagan's most revered sites during the Bagan empire especially King Anawrahta, the founder of Bagan empire. This was built for the victory of Theravada Buddhism against inappropriate "nat" worship during 11th century. And believed to enclose a bone and tooth relic of Gautama Buddha. For other subsidiary shrines at the zedi's cardinal points house beautiful cast-copper Buddhas dating from 1102. This will catch your breath to visit this temple.
8. Dhammayangyi temple (Bagan ancient city)
Your Bagan trip will not be success without visiting this temple. From the sand and scrub, Dhammanyangyi is the most massive and grand temple in Bagan. This temple was built in the late 1160's during the short three-year reign of King Narathu(1118-71). By his violent psychopath, more than thousands of labors were forced and sacrificed to complete this structure. The in-charge were punished by cutting the hand if the needle can be inserted each bricks as quality checking. So that the result resisting so far more than several times of huge earthquakes nowadays.
9. Shwe U Min Temple (Pindaya Township, Shan state)
Located in the small little peaceful town called Pindaya which is in Shan state. Grand mountain cave has been installed with more than Eight thousands of Buddha stupas showing the image of local pilgrimage in Myanmar's generosity where some dating back 1773.The amazing installation in every space of the wall of the cave can catch your eye. You can learn not only the religion but also the lifespan of the cave where some geologist found millions of years old limestones. Pindaya township is the 2 hours drive from the Heho township airport. Most of the visitors to Shan state visit Pindaya as day return trip, one night stop trip or trekking program has also included.
10. Koethaung Temple (Mrauk U Archeological Zone, Mrauk U Township, Rakhine state)
One found interest visiting to Bagan temples will definitely love Mrauk U temples without doubt. The lush coastal land Arakan precursor of modern Rakhine state was in the 16th century the hub of trade network extending from south India to Indonesia which brought richest time to the Arakanese kings era. Mrauk U archeological are way too older than Bagan. After the Burmese sacked the city in 1784, the population fled and it fell into ruins. Due to difficulties of transport and unstable situation in regions nearby keeps the temples and stupas green and fresh.
Among them, Koethaung Temple is the most famous and largest sites in Mrauk U. Oriented toward the east, Koethaung is square in plan with an exterior composed of five receding terraces each holding rows of small stupas. It was built in (1554-6) where you can learn the amazing architecture. Koe thaung means 90,000 which refers to its Buddha statues installed in the temple.
Mrauk U can be reached from Sittwe township by 3 hours boat or drive where only flight can be assessed to Sittwe.
Accommodations and transportation are limited and trip arrangement with good local agent is the only advisable.