The Pindaya Caves are amongst the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Myanmar. Located in the limestone ridge of the Myelat region, it consists of three caves. You can, however, enter and navigate the southern cave. Once inside the cave, you can view over 8,000 images and sculptures of Buddha.
Some of the statues here are older than the 17th century as visitors have donated different sculptures here since then. Studies tell that some of the images present in the cave are unique and some have never even been found before. You can enter the southernmost cave through a Pagoda by the name Shwe U Min (golden cave). People believe that King Ashoka made the attributes in the pagoda, but there are no distinct sources to prove that.
Among the legends involving these caves, one of them is that a giant spider trapped seven princes bathing in the nearby lake when the prince of Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake) came to their rescue and killed the spider with his Bow and Arrows. You can see the sculptures of the prince aiming his arrows towards the giant spider at the entrance. However, people added these sculptures lately adding the features of the legend.
Now one of the most sacred sites in Myanmar, the ancient sculptures here are by the cult of Mahayana Buddhists. As most Burmese now practice Theravada Buddhism these images and sculptures are unique and distinct from others here. Donations from the Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries including some Muslim communities to the cave had made this cave one of the most versatile and art-rich caves in the whole Myanmar region.
One of the major attractions here in Pindaya Caves is also the images of the Bhisakkaguru tradition dating up to the 18th century. These images are unique in the styling of different facial parts and hair of the constituents. One can find these images completely different from other ones in Burma.
This 490-foot-long cave with a well-worn path is a unique and sacred experience for visitors. Once inside the cave, you can feel an abundance of positive energy and a sense of fulfillment. While some believe that these caves can lead their way up to Bagan, you can undoubtedly try navigating them yourself.
Ancient Statues and Images
70 images of Bhisakkaguru tradition
Shwe U Min (Golden Cave)