Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 3, 2012


Mt. Popa is a 2,418-ft high volcanic peak, about 90-minute drive from Bagan. It is Bagan’s Mt.
Olympus, where Myanmar’s 37 nat (native spirits) are believed to reside. They date from before the advent in Myanmar Hindu and Buddhist influences, they are fairly widely revered. Two major nat festivals are held here ever year.

At the base, just across from the steps leading up to the mountain-top shrines, there is shrine guarded by tiger-statutes. It displays mannequin-like figures of some of the 37 nat, including the
guardian of children Shin Nemi, the guardian of gamblers Lord Kyawswa, and serpent spirit Shwe Na Be.

Along the 818-step, zigzagging, covered staircase are other shrines.

About 3-quarters of the way up is the shrine of the Queen Mother of Popa Mae Wunna, the Flower-Eating Ogress. According to a legend she fell in love with and married a human, a flower-gathering Indian with superhuman powers, who was in service of king Anawrahta. He and their two sons were executed by the king for neglecting their duties. And the ogress was left alone to fend for herself.
On the top of the mountain there is a complex of shrines, stupas, and monasteries.

The top offers panoramic views of the area.

On the way down, we met a family from Malaysia, who gladly agreed to pose for us for a photo.

There are many monkeys all along the staircase.
Vendors sell treats to the pilgrims to offer to the monkeys. One the way up, one monkey snatched the cap I was wearing on my head. We had to offer him a treat to tempt it to let go of my cap, which he did. On the way down, another monkey tried to steal things, from the pocket of my jeans.

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