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Why Taung Kalat Monastery is special ?
Taung Kalat is a Buddhist monastery which is perched on top of Mount Popa - a volcano which rises up to a height of 1,518 meters. Situated in central Burma, almost 50 km from the medieval city of Bagan, Mount Popa is one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites of the country where thousands of pilgrims and tourists flock each year to see the Nat temples and numerous relic sites on this volcanic mountain top.
The Taung Kalat which means “Pedestal Hill” lies on the southwest of Mount Popa, which is a volcanic plug or a neck. It was formed because the magma, while rising up on its way towards the vent, somehow froze inside the vent. The Taung Kalat rises up to a height of 737 meters with the monastery situated on its summit. The Taung Kalat is also at times referred to as Mount Popa and therefore, to avoid confusion the main range is also referred to as ‘Taung Ma Gyi’ or the Mother Hill.
What to explore at Taung Kalat Monastery?
The monastery at Taungkalat is famous for being home to 37 nats (spirits), which are represented by statues at the base of the volcanic outcrop. From here, you can climb up the 777 steps to the monastery at the top, where you will find a 360 degree panorama and a labyrinth of shrines to explore.
Along the staircase to the top, various temples and shrines provide a chance for rest and spiritual reflection on why you’re tackling such a climb. The Mount Popa monastery, or Taung Kalat as it’s technically known, is an easy day trip from Bagan. It takes just over an hour to drive there and there are plenty of people in Bagan who will gladly take you.
How to get to Taung Kalat Monastery?
Tourists in Bagan generally make a one day trip to the Taung Kalat. One can hire a car from Bagan and reach the area in an hour. New Bagan is equipped with an airport so travelers can catch a flight from the Yangon International Airport to New Bagan, or one can choose to fly to Bagan from the International Airport at Mandalay. Bagan can also be reached by train and bus both from Yangon or Mandalay.
Taung Kalat Myanmar (Burma)