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Monywa & Its environs
Monywa is 136 km north-west of Mandalay. It lies at the heart of the Chindwin valley.
The name Monywa comes from "Mont" meaning "delicacy or snack food" and "Ywa" which is the Myanmar word for village. There is a legend, which says that in the old days a Myanmar king fell in love with a seller of delicacy from this town and made her his queen. The original name, some say, is Mon-thema-ywa or "Village of the woman delicacy seller". Its become Monywa. There has been a big village at Monywa from the Bagan Period. The classical name for Monywa is Thalawadi. The chronicles mention that Monywa was one of the places where King Alaungphayar encamped for the night on his campaign to Manipur in 1758. During the Myanmar King's time, Monywa remained just a big village as the administrative centre 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. In the last few years with the legalizing of the border trade with India, Monywa has grown into a bustling trading centre, second only to Mandalay in the Upper Myanmar region.
The most attraction of Monywa is Thanboddhe Pagoda, which was started in 1939 and completed in 1952 by Monk Mohnyin sayadaw. There are many different Buddha images, the totally number is 582,257 are placed in niches along the walls.
Boddhi Tahtaung Pagoda
Boddhi Tahtaung is about 8 km from the Thanboddhe Pagoda. From Thanboddhe Pagoda you can go by car about 8 km a long a good branch road to Po Khaung Taung, a small range of hills in the Monywa area. Boddhi Tahtaung means one thousand Buddha. A much venerated Sayadaw now popularly known as the Bodhi Tahtaung Sayadaw planted there one thousand Bodhi trees (ficus religiosa) Bo or Banyan trees, each with a Buddha image at its foot.
Po Khaung Taung
Just beyond Boddhi Tahtaung is Po Khaung Taung, a range of hills lies the largest reclining Buddha images in the world. Measuring 300 ft in length it is even bigger than the colossal Shwethalyaung reclining Buddha image in Bago (Pegu) which has a length of 180 ft only. The head is 60 ft. in height. It was only built in 1991 and up to now, there is still no roof or shelter to protect it from the elements. This huge image has a hollow cave-like structure inside and visitor can walk from the head to the feet. You will then see inside 9,000 on foot high metal images of the Buddha and his disciples in various postures. There are also representations of some of the important events in the life of the Buddha.
Aung Sakkya Pagoda
Near the reclining Buddha image, also on Po Khaung Taung range is the Aung Sakkya Pagoda, 441.75 ft in height (including the base of 216.75 ft). This pagoda is a landmark for the area around Monywa as it can be seen from afar. It is surrounded by 1,060 smaller satellite pagodas, which shelter over a thousand sacred images of the Buddha.
Pho Win Hill
It lies south-west of the Monywa. The caves themselves contain Buddha statues and murals dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Most exhibit the Inwa style, though some may date as for back as the 14th to 16th centuries. A covered stairway climbs a hill to the main cave shrine, but there are dozens of large and small caves in the area filled with old Buddha images. There are over 400,000 images in these and other nearby caves. Shwe Ba Hill, just beyond Pho Win Hill, features unique pavilions cut from the surrounding sandstone and filled with plain Buddha images.
Pearl Nadi Travels & Tours Co., Ltd.
(Myanmar Travel Agent & Tour Operator)
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