Myanmar is famous throughout the world with thousands of ancient temples with unique architecture. Behind the spectacular architecture, there are many mysteries that people hardly know about during their holidays in Myanmar.
Shwedagon with 8 strands of the Buddha’s hair
Shwedagon in Yangon is one of the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in the country. This tower is plated with gold and mounted with millions of diamonds and rubies on top. It is believed to house 8 strands of hair of the Buddha. According to legend, two brothers from the city of Balkh in what is Afghanistan today, met the Buddha and was presented eight of the Buddha’s hairs. The two then travel to Burma, and with the help of the local ruler, chose Singuttara Hill to enshrine the relics.
Ananda to be killed
Ananda Temple in Bagan has a tragic story behind. In order to building this temple, the Kyanzttha King consulted a graphic description of Nandamula Cave Temple in Himalayas from eight monks who sought alms around. The king then make the 8 monks to construct a temple in Bagan, because the place possessed the same cool weather as the Nandamula. However, the king made an cruel decision which was killing all the builders to ensure that there would not be any similar architecture like Ananda temple anywhere else.
Site of Shwezigon chosen by an elephant
According to the legend, the site of Shwezigon pagoda was chosen by a white elephant whose body had the sign of Budda’s frontal bone. The elephant was allowed to roam freely, the place he stopped would be the site for building the pagoda.
Dhammayangyi – the temple of sinful deeds
The Dhammayangyi is the largest of all temples in Bagan. According to old stories, King Narathu built it to atone for his sinful deeds: smothered his father and brother to death, executed an Indian princess, also one of his wives, for not quitting her Hindu rituals and murdered workers if he can fit a nail into bricks’ space.
After his death, the temple was never completed. It is thought that the workers not only stopped work on the temple but filled the inner ambulatory passages out of the spite. Today, its interior is bricked up for unknown reasons.
Pindaya Caves near the Pindaya town in Shan State contains thousands of Buddha images dating to the early 18th century. This huge collection will give tourist a better understanding of the harmony with the times of the art.
Mount Popa – Mount Olympus of Myanmar
Mount Popa is called Mount Olympus to the people of Myanmar. This place is considered the abode of Burma’s most powerful Nats, and as such the most important nat worship center for many pilgrims. Burmese superstition says on Mt Popa, one should not wear red, black or green and bring meat because it could offend the resident nats.
Kyaiktiyo is not a place for women
Visitors never cease to be amazed at the scenery of Kyaiktiyo – a small pagoda on the top of a granite boulder looks as if it is going to fall off the edge of the mountain and roll down the hill. But it has perched precariously here for as long as the land’s recorded history. It’s assumed that, a single strand of the Buddha’s hair is enshrined here and thus keep the rock firm. To get here and stick square shaped gold leaves on the face of the Golden Rock, pilgrims must cross over a small bridge across an abyss. Women are not allowed to touch the rock so cannot cross the bridge too.
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