5 spiritual places to visit in Myanmar (Burma)
Visiting Myanmar (Burma) without a list of the best places to visit is inviting disaster – there are simply too many to choose from! Yet pagodas and temples form the spiritual and historical backbone of the country and the Burmese people, and as a result are an important and exciting part of your visit here. Every site tells its own story and with this in mind, here is our list of the oldest and most spiritual temples and pagodas in Myanmar.
Shwedagon Pagoda – Yangon
One of the most famous pagodas in the world and certainly the most recognizable landmark in Myanmar, the majestic Shwedagon pagoda is the spiritual heart of the Myanmar people. Completely covered in gold, its enormous 99 meter Stupa is believed to contain the hair of Buddha and can be seen from across the city. Now more than 2500 years old, surrounded by temples and encrusted with jewels and diamonds it truly is a sight to behold. At night the stupa is illuminated and takes on an otherworldly charm, acting as a golden beacon shining out across the city.
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda – Inle Lake
Phaung Daw Oo is located in peaceful Inle Lake, Shan State, and can only be accessed by boat. This quiet remoteness forms part of its charm, as does its beautiful ornamental hti-taw and unusual images (there are 5) (images of what?). The pagoda festival in October is one of the largest and most famous celebrations In Shan state, during which 4 of the images are taken out on the Royal Barge and paraded through villages around the lake. The fifth image remains behind to guard the pagoda. A beautiful pagoda in a remote, remarkable setting – not to be missed.
Mahamuni Pagoda – Mandalay
Located in the south-west of Mandalay, the Buddha image of Mahamuni (Great Sage) is both the most revered image in Mandalay and the oldest Buddha image in Myanmar, as it was made from Buddha’s own image during his lifetime. The statue is 3.8 meters tall, yet covered in so much gold leaf as to be almost unrecognisable. The pagoda’s festival falls in February and many Buddhists from around the country make pilgrimage. As is common with Myanmar festivals, a variety of local shops and food stalls are set up exhibiting fascinating local plays and dances. One unique feature of Mahamuni Festival is Htamane contests taking place in the pagoda compound on the eve of the full moon day. The best thing to see at Mahamuni is the “Washing of the Buddha’s Face”; you will witness a senior monk washing the face and brushing the teeth of the Buddha image every morning around 04- 4:30.
Lawkananda Pagoda – Bagan
Lawka Nanda means Joy of the World in ancient pali, and this ancient pagoda certainly is remarkable. Located on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and built by King Anawrahta during his reign in 1059, it is said that a relic of Buddha’s tooth is enshrined within. The pagoda is white; the main stupa gilded gold, and the view of Irrawaddy River absolutely unforgettable. If you are looking for a truly spiritual and memorable experience while visiting Lawkananda Pagoda, you can attend an oil lamp ceremony. These ceremonies are steeped in the Buddhist belief in earning merit through performing good deeds. If you are interested, we are happy to organize an oil lamp ceremony for you.
Ananda Temple – Bagan
Built by King Kyansittha during the 11th century, venerable Ananda Bahto Temple was the first temple built at Bagan and is considered as one of the largest and most beautiful. Constructed in beautiful Mon architectural fashion – itself styled after Indian designs – the main building stands 35 feet high and the central tower soars 167 feet above the ground. There are four 30 foot tall gilded Buddha images which face the four cardinal directions, representing the four successful wisdoms of Buddha. The temple festival, falling during January and February, is one of the biggest events in Bagan and features a huge variety of performances including traditional puppetry. At around 6 a.m. on the main day, over a thousand of monks from villages in the vicinity arrive to accept offerings of filled alms bowls before departing around 9.30 a.m.
It is always better to go and touch, rather than reading on paper or screen. After visiting these ancient religious sites, you will have gained unique and fascinating knowledge of ancient Burmese peoples’ lives and history.
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Découvrez en 14 jours les plus belles richesses de la Birmanie, des temples majestueux de Bagan au train circulaire à Yangon, en passant par les surprenants marché flottants du Lac Inle et les magnifiques paysages de Pindaya.
As the sun sets over Bagan, join locals to illuminate hundreds of small candles at the base of a serene pagoda. Earn merit and gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism through this authentic, local experience.
Discover the deep spiritualism of Myanmar by partaking in a special Buddhist ceremony. Visit a monastery in Bagan and donate food to monks and receive a traditional blessing in return. This serene experience is certain to bring you closer to Myanmar’s culture and to create lasting memories.