Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 5, 2012


This morning we headed to Sagaing, which was the capital of Shan kingdom from 1315 t0 1364, when the grandson of its founder moved the capital to Inwa (or Ava). It is reputed for its 500 stupas and monasteries, which house about 6000 monks and nuns.

Our first stop was the International Buddhist University. Scholars from all over the world come to University to study Buddhist scriptures and practice.

It was built in 1994, by a learned monk, who had travelled to various current and ancient Buddhist nations, including India and Afghanistan. Inside are displayed pictures of various Buddhist sites he had taken during his travels.

The building is built like the 3rd century B.C. Mauryan emperor Asoka’s Sanchi Stupa in Central India. It is adorned with gateways, pillars and sculptural details from this stupa and Ashoka’s edict pillars. But certainly it is more ornate than the Sanchi Stupa.

Next we visited That Kya Thida nunnery in time for their procession for the day’s meal.

Before they enter the dining hall, they leave their sandals outside, but lined in neat rows. Inside the dining hall, they all sit on the floor for their day’s only meal.

On raised platforms, behind the dining room, there are two pagodas. The older pagoda, at the highest level, has the Buddha idol built entirely from Bamboo, which was later gilded.

At the lower level is another pagoda, which has several images of Gautama Buddha, as well as of his previous and future incarnations.

Then we went up the Sagaing Hill, where according to Myanmar legend, the Buddha himself visited and made the area’s 99 ogres his disciples.

We visited Umin Thounzeh, with its crescent-shaped, cave-like colonnade with 45 Buddha images, one for each year of Lord Buddha’s teachings. Each image has a plaque bearing the donors’ names.

Soon U Ponya Shin Paya was our next target.

It was built on “the Frog Hill’, the highest peak, in 1312 by a prime minister. A painting in the sanctuary portrays the prime minister and the King.

A large frog statute stands in the temple to serve as a donation box.
Visitors pose for photographs.

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