Monywa is a town on the Chindwin river located in the dry zone of Central Burma West of Mandalay. The city was reconstructed the new city after it was destroyed by the fire in 1956. The valley surrounding Monywa is dotted with farms, glittering pagodas, and small villages. The rural area is mainly involved in agriculture, with crops like beans, palm sugar, and cotton. West of the Chindwin river is a large copper mine. The markets in town sell locally produced food, fruit, handicrafts, and textiles and are an excellent place to try some of the local dishes. Local people get around on motorbikes, bicycles, and trishaws. Monywa loosely translates to “Miss pancake town”. According to legend, the town got its name after a Prince visited the village where he met a woman who fried pancakes. After he married her, the town was named Monywa.
Pho Win Hill
Pho Win Hill is located on the west bank of the Chindwin river and 25 kilometers west of Monywa. It is about 20 minutes walk up the hill. There are about 900 sandstone caves containing many carved Buddha images and well-preserved mural paintings. Some caves have beautiful exterior decorations. Some caves have large collections of ancient Buddha images some of which have been covered in gold leaf by local pilgrims. There are wonderful mural paintings in vivid colors representing Burmese life and Jataka stories. Pho Win Hill’s unique Buddha Images and precious paintings have been dated to between the 14th and 18th centuries. This hill is thought to be South East Asia’s richest collection of Buddhist mural paintings and images
Bodhi Tahtaung Pagoda
Bodhi Tahtaung Pagoda in Monywa has one thousand Bodhi Trees and each tree has a large Buddha Image underneath. It was established by Bodhi Tahtaung Sayadaw in the 1960s. Po Khaung Taung, a range of hills, lies east of Bodhi Tahtaung Pagoda. The largest reclining Buddha image in the world which is 91 meters long is lying on that hill. This huge image has a hollow cave-like structure inside and you can walk from head to toes. Some of the important events in the life of the Buddha are displaying inside the image
The Thanboddhay temple is one of the most colorful ornate temples in Burma, which was founded by the great monk of MoeNyin Sayadaw without the help of the construction engineer. Most of all pagoda in Myanmar in their front entrance stand the Lions statues but in the entrance of Thanboddhay temple stands Elephant statues. Every inch of the main building is covered with images of the Buddha. It is said that the temple houses a total of more than 580,000 images.
Laykyun Setkyar Standing Buddha Image
Nearby is the Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung monastery, known for its two enormous images of the Buddha on the hill. The 90 meters long reclining Buddha and the 116 meter high standing Buddha are among the largest in the world. Laykyun Setkyar Standing Buddha Image was built by Bodhi Tahtaung Sayadaw (venerable monk). It is the second tallest Buddha Image in the world at 116 meters. It is also located on Po Khaung Taung just behind the reclining Buddha image. It was built the hollow type. It can climb by stairs inside the structure to see the panoramic view. It took 11 years to finish. Since its completed in 2008, the image has become one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar
Shwe Gu Ni Pagoda
The 14th century Shwe Gu Ni Pagoda on Kyaukka road about 15 kilometers East of Monywa houses a large Buddha in the Bhumisparsha mudra, calling the Earth to witness. The image is covered with a thick layer of gold foil, applied by Buddhist devotees. Local people believe that one wish can be fulfilled at this temple by praying to the image.
Day 1 - Morning around 9:00 am start to leave at your hotel and go to the Monywa taking around 2:30 hours to drive. While we reach Monywa, Have lunch and visit the Pho Win Hill and Shwe Ba Taung. After that comes back to Monywa Hotel and Overnight in Monywa.
Day 2 - Morning around 8:00 am start to visit Thanboddhay temple, Laykyun Setkyar Standing Buddha Image and Bodhi Tahtaung Pagoda after all visited transfer to Bagan. While we are transferring to Bagan we can visit Kyaung Daw Gyi Monastery (Pakhangyi Monastery) and Archeological Museum and Shwe Ku Pagoda at the Pakokku and then heading to Bagan