Explore Monywa – A major trade city in Sagaing Division, Myanmar
Monywa is a city in Sagaing Division, Myanmar, located 136 km north-west of Mandalay on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River. It is along the Mandalay-Budalin branch railway line but is best reached by bus as the road from Mandalay is in reasonably good shape.
Monywa is a major trade center for agricultural produce from the surrounding Chindwin Valley, especially beans, orange pulses and jiggery (palm sugar). In addition, the local industry includes mills for the production of cotton, flour, noodles, and edible oils. Monywa’s rough cotton blankets are famous throughout Myanmar. Other regional crafts include bamboo and reed products, bullock carts and agricultural implements.
If you are Buddhism followers or love the beauty of Buddha architecture, it will be a big mistake if you pass Monywa, one of the attractions in Myanmar. This city lies on the eastern bank of Chindwin River, serving as a major trade center for India and Burma through Kalay Myo road and Chindwin River.
Coming to this city, you will be fascinated by the world of Buddhism spreading through each corner here. The most typical case that needs to be mentioned is Thanboddhay Pagoda (also known as Mohnyin Thambuddhei Paya), a massive Buddhist complex in Monywa, Myanmar. It is a gilded world, brightly screaming out praise for Buddha through colorful celebration. Throughout the area, each pillar and tower of the Pagoda is carefully and completely covered with images of Buddha.
From statues inside the pagoda, to miniatures climbing the sides of the building itself, there are 500,000 depictions of Buddha in total. Although it was originally built in the early 14th century, it was reconstructed in 1939, and is incredibly preserved in its golden form.
Unlike many other temples in Myanmar, the entrance is not guarded by lions. Instead, two imposing white elephants stand out against their shimmering backdrop. Since its reconstruction, the pagoda has been one of the largest tourist attractions in Myanmar, drawing awe-struck tourists and pious religious visitors alike.
Besides Thanboddhay Pagoda, you need to see Pho Win Hill. Pho Win Hill is located on the west bank of Chindwin River and 25 kilometers west of Monywa. It is about 20 minutes walk up the hill. There are about 900 sandstone caves containing many carved Buddha images and well preserved mural paintings. Some caves have beautiful exterior decorations.
Some caves have large collections of ancient Buddha images some of which have been covered in gold leaf by local pilgrims. There are wonderful mural paintings in vivid colors representing Burmese life and Jataka stories. Pho Win Hill’s unique Buddha images and precious paintings have been dated to between the 14th and 18th centuries. This hill is thought to be South East Asia’s richest collection of Buddhist mural paintings and images.
Monywa can also be the base for visiting Kyaukka. Kyaukka . a town about ten miles to the east. second only to Bagan as a center for the Myanmar lacquer-ware cottage industry. A few hours drive will also bring you to Twintaung hill. an extinct volcano whose crater now forms a beautiful lake. The surrounding area has lush vegetation. and views of the area from the rim of this crater lake is breathtaking.
The Ledi Kyaung Monastery is also well worth visiting. Built by the famous Ledi Sayadaw. a renowned Pali scholar. there are now 806 stone slab inscriptions which preserve some of the Sayadaw’s writings.
A few hours drive will also bring you to Twin Taung Hill. an extinct volcano whose crater now forms a beautiful lake. The surrounding area has lush vegetation. and there are lovely views of the area from the rim of this crater lake.
A trip to Monywa will certainly make you satisfied and relax not only because of attractive scenes but also the peaceful atmosphere and hospitability of people who follow Buddhism there. Getting in Monywa is easy, but getting out is rather difficult – you simply do not want to leave.
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