Monywa and around
Monywa is a city in central Myanmar and situated on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River, Sagaing division. It is a major trade center for India and Burma.The name Monywa comes from the word of combination of MON and YWA since"Mon" means "cake or snacks" and "Ywa" means village. So the meaning of MONYWA means that village of snack. The legend which says that in the old days, a Myanmar King fell in love with a seller of cakes from this town and made herhis queen. The original name some says is Mon-thema-ywa or "Village of the woman cake seller". Monywa was a big village during Bagan period.The classical name for Monywa is Thanllawadi.
The chronicles mention that Monywa was one of the places where King Alaungphaya encamped for the night on his campaign to Manipura in 1758. During the Myanmar Kings' time Monywa remained just a big village as the administrative center for the region was at Ahlon.
It was only a year after the Annexation of 1886 that Monywa became the Headquarters of the Lower Chindwin District. After legalizing of the border trade with India, Monywa has been growing into a bustling trading.
Places to see
• Thanboddhay Pagoda (Thambuddhei Paya)
• Bodhi Tataung Laykyun Sekkya standing Buddha
• Pho Win Hill
• Shwe Ba Hill
• Ledi Kyaungteik monastery
Thanboddhay Pagoda (Thambuddhei Paya)
Turning off the road to Mandalay south east of town is the spectacularly colourful and uniquely styled Thanboddhay Pagoda (Thambuddhei Paya), which houses over 500,000 Buddha images and features many hundreds of golden spires (K3000 entry fee).
There is a colorful watchtower on the monastery site which offers views of the pagoda and surrounding plains.
Bodhi Tataung Laykyun Sekkya standing Buddha
Further down the same side road is the Bodhi Tataung Laykyun Sekkya standing Buddha statue; at 116 metres, it is the second tallest statue in the world (and second tallest Buddha). It is located at the back of a large religious site with bodhi trees, gardens containing hundreds of sitting Buddhas, and a huge reclining Buddha lying in front of the Laykyun Sekkya.
The interior of the main structure features depictions of Buddhist teachings, including some alarming images of depravity and the punishment of evil-doers, plus some propaganda photos of the generals who were in power when it was completed in 2008. You can climb several floors – although the interior is not yet completed to the top.
Pho Win Hill
The Pho Win Hill caves (also variously spelt as Hpowindaung, Powintaung and Po Win Taung) can be found 25 kilometers west of Monywa, on the western bank of the Chindwin River. The 947 caves that make up the complex were built between the 14th and 18th centuries, and contain ornate mural paintings and hundreds of Buddha statues.
The Pho Win Hill Festival takes place here in November at the caves, and is Monywa’s biggest festival of the year. To find out more, go to festivals in Myanmar.
Shwe Ba Hill
Shwe Ba Hill just beyond Pho Win Hill features unique pavilions cut from the surrounding sandstone and filled with plain Buddha images. Shweba Taung is on the West Bank of Chindwin River.
There temples and caves are curved out of volcanic rocks and inside walls of some caves are decorated with 13 century / 18 century mural paintings.
Ledi Kyaungteik monastery
Also near Monywa is the Ledi Kyaungteik monastery, in which Buddhist scriptures have been inscribed on 806 stone slabs and Kyaukka village, known for its unique style of lacquerware.
Pakokku is a prosperous trading town in central Myanmar, located 25 kilometres north of Bagan and now connected by a new road and rail bridge across the river. On the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy river and it is well-known for the production of Tobacco. There is not a great deal to do in the town itself, but 20 kilometres to its northwest you can find the remains of Pakhangyi, with its Old city walls, Archaeological Museum, and one of the oldest surviving Wooden Monasteries in the region. Other than Tobacco plantation, it also produces palm sugar jaggery, thanakha logs, longyis and blankets called “Anyar Saung”. Pakokku is accessible from Mandalay by car and Bagan by ferry boat.
The Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival takes place in Pakokku at the end of May or the beginning of June and features a large country fair and traditional plays. To find out more, go to festivals in Myanmar.
Places to see
• Pakhangyi (Ancient City)
• Shwe Ku Pagoda
• Shwe Tant Tit Tharakhan Buddha Image
• Thiho Shin Pagoda
• Archaeological Museum
• Wooden Monasteries
Pakhangyi (Ancient City)
The ancient Pakhangyi city is situated in Yesagyo Township, Pakokku District, Magway Region in central Myanmar. There are about 382 ancient monumental buildings in the old city of Pakhangyi. The city walls of Pakhangyi are the most massive, among the remaining un-ruined city walls in Myanmar.
Shwe Ku Pagoda
Shwe Ku Pagoda is one of the famous pagodas in Pakokku. It is famous for its wood carving and housing a Buddha image seated on a lotus throne.
Shwe Tant Tit Tharakhan Buddha Image
It is situated near Pakokku. The height of the Tharakhan Buddha image is only about 4 fingers width (Let Lay Thit) and with the elephant throne (Hsinkhan Palin).
Thiho Shin Pagoda
Thiho Shin is one of the most famous pagodas in Pakokku, built by King Alaungsithu. The pagoda contains an image presented by the King of Ceylon some 800 years ago and the image is one of the most revered in Myanmar. Thiho Shin pagoda festival is held from 8th waxing day to 10th waxing day of Nayon every year.