Myanmar – 10 Temples to Visit
All across Asia are beautiful sacred temples of different peoples and religions – both modern and ancient. Among these countries, Myanmar or formerly Burma houses a number of the most majestic, historical, and exhilarating temples and monasteries. Impressively, one visit in this scenic country will not be enough to discover all its towering structures because of its huge amount. But, we’ve done our best to congest it to a list of 10.
Lawkaoushaung Temple, Bagan
Overlooking the Myinkaba Plains, the Lawkaoushang Temple offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views among the Bagan collection of monasteries. Its exteriors and interiors manifest the architectural norm of its heydays especially the pronounced stupas and large spaces of intricate patios inside. But, this temple’s beauty doesn’t lie to features in it, but its perfect location: a scenic view emphasised by the brightness of the sun once it reaches its peak beauty during sunset.
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
A golden symbol of Myanmar’s culture, the magnificence of the Shwedagon is further boosted by the adornments of precious ornamental stones that include diamonds. This towering gilded structure is one of Myanmar’s most priceless cultural and historical treasure, especially for Burmese Buddhists. The sun also plays a big role when it comes to capturing the site – especially at high noon when the pagoda’s stupa glimmers and shines in its full glory. If you don’t want to brave the searing heat of noontime, you can also witness its dusk and nighttime allure, but just outside its premises.
Htukkanthein Temple, Mrauk U
This temple is Myanmar’s version of the grass mazes of the western world. With the thrill of discovering its passageways, the prize at the end is upon reaching its Central Buddha. Always appreciate the designs of the temple as you traverse its passageways, but remember, Do Not Get Lost!
Ananda Pahto Temple, Bagan
In the huge collection of temples and pagodas in Bagan, there are four remarkable ones which maintained their elegance. One of them is the Ananda Pahto Temple. Finished in 1105 AD, this important Buddhist structure houses four standing Buddha statues facing the four directions. Other than that, it also features a golden stupa – a Burmese temple trademark, and numerous intricate Buddhist carvings and images inside. The place is one of the most visited locations in Bagan, so prepare your social skills and bask in a rich tapestry of Burmese religious and cultural life.
Buangdawgyoke Pagoda, Yangon
This temple mixes thrill and reverence in an eccentric way. Mainly because the Buangdawgyoke Pagoda is also known as the Snake temple, as it houses almost 50 huge Burmese pythons littered all over the place. Its exquisite Buddha statues and ornaments are overshadowed by the fact that everywhere you look you can see another moving design: brown patched scales. Want some cultural education with a bit of a twist? Buangdawgyoke Pagoda is the destination to be. Watch your step, though; you might disturb the slithering locals.
Hsinbyume Pagoda, Mingun
In a nation in love with gold’s glitter, the Hsinbyume Pagoda is a captivating anomaly. This immaculate white temple is built in 1816 as an imitation of the mythological Mount Meru. Other than its ivory-coloured appearance, its unique designs and interiors can also be considered unique compared to the usual Burmese temple complexes, making it a definite must-see. Another factor to consider is that Burmese cosmology believes that the pagoda is the universe’s centre.
Bayin Nyi Monastery, Hpa An
Speaking of beautiful anomalies, Bayin Nyi is also one of them. Most temples are located out in the open, proudly showing its splendour to the world. Bayin Nyi is different as it can be found in a secluded cave — which also adds to its beauty. The monastery is composed of temple complexes and a collection of huge and small Buddha statues scattered all over the entirety of the cave. If this is not impressive enough, the cave also has its own hot spring.
Kawthaung, Mrauk U
Compared to other Burmese temples, the Kawthaung temple complex pales when it comes to aesthetics but does not when it comes to historical and cultural weight. A bustling city from the 15th to 18th centuries, the now abandoned temple is sought out for its tranquil environment and solemn atmosphere. It features remarkable structures that number to the hundreds. Its interiors are composed of miniature stone Buddha carvings that depict Buddha’s struggles against demons. Most of all, just walking around this undisturbed sanctuary infuses you with positive vibes and an itch to take snaps – always with respect, though.
Mahamuni Paya, Mandalay
In the hectic life of urban Mandalay lies a priceless place of reverence — the Mahamuni Paya. Completed in 1785, this sacred site houses the world-renowned 13-foot Golden Buddha alleged to be over 2,000 years old, and which is said to bring extremely good fortune when honoured annually. It is also a testament to Myanmar’s intimacy with gold as the sparkling statue is also housed in a structure with prominent golden features. If you’re interested to learn the history of the Golden Buddha, then you can visit the art gallery located in its courtyard.
Popa Taung Kalat Monastery, Bagan
High atop the mountaintop of Mount Popa towers the Popa Taung Kalat Monastery. This majestic and perfectly placed structure offers spectacular views of the landscape below which involves impressive greenery. It is also extremely isolated and ideal for tranquil meditations. This wildlife-rich wonder involves climbing a flight of stairs and an ensemble of entertaining swinging monkeys. Although Myanmar is devoutly Buddhist, their old religious traditions are still preserved and honoured, as can be seen in this monastery’s history that is tied with their belief of Nats or spirits.