Taung Kalat (Mount Popa) Monastery is a very famous Buddhist temple in Myanmar. So serene, so awesome and so breathtakingly beautiful. It is pretty different from the rest.
Monastery is one of the most breathtaking places in Myanmar and the whole world.
Most people call the hill Popa on which the monastery was built. However, this is the name of a higher volcano closer.
The temple was founded on the Taung Kalat mountain, the former vanished volcano. The last eruption of this volcano occurred in the 5th century BCE.
Taung Kalat is 737 meters high and has an incredible view. Since ancient times, locals have viewed the Taung Kalat mountain as a sacred place where Buddha is celebrated and a place of spirits.
Locals believe that the Nats (37 beings in the shape of demigods) live on the mountain.
Taung Kalat Trip
How to get to Taung Kalat (Mount Popa) Monastery
The temple is located in Mandalay Region, Myanmar, 190 km northwest of Mandalay center. You can reach here from the city in 4 hour by car.
You can hire a car or private pick-up from Bagan, Mandalay, costing around 30,000 Kyat. You can chose a organised tour by your hotel per person: 4-6,000 kyat return.
It is at 1500 meters above sea level. Visitors have to climb long and steep stairs with 777 steps. It takes more than 20 minutes to reach to get to the top.
The stairway to the top is covered, along the way to the top are shops selling various items including wooden handicrafts and local flowers.
Given that it is built on an almost steep mountain, climbing really requires good physical training.
The initial part of the stairs is very wide and made of stone; Gradually the stairs become narrower and more tangible with each step.
Initially, the staircase was roofed, but eventually the old roof was destroyed and today some areas are fully open.
The only thing that can save you from falling into the abyss is the fragile wooden railing.
Another dangerous feature is the large number of highly aggressive monkeys.
Thus, a lot of patience and attention is required to overcome the cherished 777 steps.
In the past, when many Buddhists were fed to these tigers, the government took the road to this place into a security circle. Likewise, some Buddhists who tried to climb the hill fell from above and died.
Taung Kalat (Mount Popa) Monastery
Temple was built relatively recently, in the late 19th century. The mountain is located in Mount Popa National Park.
Although the region is very dry, the mountain and surrounding area are green and look like an oasis in the desert.
Once arrived in the monastery area, please take off shoes and socks as is usual in Myanmar temples. In the temple area you will find a golden spiralled pagoda surrounded by many smaller pagodas.
Every year thousands of Buddhists climb here to become pilgrims, where they pray for their gods until midnight.
Ancient traditions and animist beliefs still play an important role in Myanmar daily life. People come to the shrines to make offerings, including food.
Most pilgrims visit the monastery during the full moon festival (Nayon).
This religious festival is celebrated twice a year. This tradition continues still today with pilgrims coming from different parts of Myanmar to behold and pray to the Buddha images.
Since some domes in the temple are made of pure gold, the temple is under protection for 24 hours.
From the top of the mountain you will have great views of the surrounding area with your cold drinks. If the weather is clear, you might be able to see as far as Bagan and the Irrawaddy river.
The temple is truly a must-see tourist destination in Myanmar. So serene, so awesome and so breathtakingly beautiful.
It is a great place to take photographs and highly recommended trip!