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Pindaya

Pindaya is a peaceful and quiet town perched on the bank of the placid Pone Ta Loke Lake. Pindaya is situated at 1183-m above sea level and 45 km from Kalaw, 38 km from the Aung Ban junction and 60 km from Heho airport. It is famous for its lime stone caves in which thousands of centuries-old Buddha image are seated and the picturesque like “Pone Ta Loke”. The winding galleries and nooks and corners are ideal places of insight meditation since the olden days. Huge monastery compounds with numerous pagodas and temples in different stages of dilapidation are much respected by such ethnic groups as the Shans, Danus and Pa-Os living in the environs of Pindaya. The road from Kalaw to Pindaya passes through Pa-O villages and countryside of magnificent scenic beauty. Pindaya is also known for the Shan paper and monk umbrella makers. Pindaya has a population of 55675. Various national hill tribes such as Danu, Taungyoe, Pa-O, Palaung and Shan living in mountain sides or climbing the hill to the left and right. People in Pindaya live in a simple lives earning by farming.

Pindaya Cave

The ancient caves are about one mile southwest of the town, and can be reached by taking a horse-cart, or motoring there by jeep or just walking along on foot. Except for the young and energetic, the best way is to go leisurely be horse-cart to the foot of the hills, reserving your energy for the 200 steps up the covered stairway leading to the cave entrance and for exploring the huge meandering maze made up of numerous caves. The caves are supposed to be 20,000 million years old and since ancient times they have been places of worship and veneration with 8,094 Buddha images made from various materials like teak wood, marble, alabaster, brick, cement and lacquer, and all enshrined in the nooks and corners of the winding caverns. At the entrance to the main cave there is a pagoda which is 18 feet in height. This pagoda is called Shwe U-min Hpaya or the Golden Cave pagoda. The Tazaung or prayer hall was built by the famous hermit U Khanti who also built many of the religious edifices on Mandalay Hill. The entire length of the cave is 490 feet. The numerous stalactites and stalagmites in these limestone caves, from fanciful shapes and have given rise to such names as the “Fairy Princess Loom”, “Posts for tying horses and elephants” and so on. Some of the smaller caves used as meditation chambers are accessible only if you crawl in on your knees and elbows. Visitors should plan to stay for one or two nights in Pindaya to explore the natural beauties all around; the tranquil Pone Ta Loke Lake, the limestone caves, the ancient pagodas and images and the lovely old Banyan trees.

 

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