Explore historic Sagaing City on a next trip to Myanmar
Located on the western banks of the Irrawaddy River, opposite Inwa and 21 kilometers southwest of Mandalay, Sagaing is another of Myanmar’s ancient capitals, famous for its many hundreds of white, silver and gold pagodas and monasteries that dot its hilly landscape.
Sagaing was the royal capital for only three years before nearby Inwa took over in 1764, but it remains an important spiritual town attracting many people to meditate in its monasteries. One of the most captivating places which contain hundreds of stupas is Sagaing Hill. You can walk up Sagaing Hill (240m/787 ft) or take a taxi to the top and wander down. There are great views of the town, the Irrawaddy and Ava (Inwa) Bridge. Covered paths along the hillside connect the monasteries and monuments to each other.
This hill has numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centers known as a peaceful place for Buddhist studies. It is the place where you can enjoy the magnificent views over Sagaing.
Soon U Ponya Shin Paya
This temple is found on Nga-pha (frog) hill, one of the southern hilltops of Sagaing Hill. It was built in the early 1300s, overnight, according to legend, and is decorated with glass tiles for an unusual shimmering effect. It has some interesting paintings and statues, and fantastic views over the Buddhist University, other temples, and pagoda below.
U Min Thonze Pagoda
Literally means “30 caves” but it’s really 30 colonnades. Using some imagination, the windows along the hillside do appear cave-like. Forty-five Buddhas sit cross-legged behind the multi-colored archways.
A few miles north of the hill lies Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, built in 1648 in an unusual white domed shape. While there are interesting theories about the source of that shape, it is most likely to have been inspired by Ceylon’s Maha Zeti Pagoda. The 46-meter (150-ft) tall dome houses a large white marble Buddha in its center and a relic chamber. Over 800 stone pillars circle the base along with image-filled niches.
Sagaing is known as a meditation center. Myanmar all over the country would visit Sagaing for the purpose of the religious retreat. Unlike the nearby Inwa and Amarapura, accommodation can be found in Sagaing.