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Popa Taung Kalat Monastery

Popa Taung Kalat Monastery or Pedestal Hill is a Buddhist monastery on Mount Popa in Mandalay Region, Myanmar, believed to be home to 37 Nats or Burmese spirits represented by statues at the base of the volcanic outcrop. The peaks are accessed via footpaths and rogue monkey troops along the rocky cliff paths as a monastery complex, a stupa and a sacred place.

Mount Popa is a 1,518 meters (4981 ft) volcano, a large solitary cone tip Taung Ma-gyi and the caldera has a width of 610 meters (2,000 feet) and a depth of 914 meters (3,000 feet). The area around is arid, but Mt Popa has over 200 springs and a river called an oasis in the middle of a dry zone like a desert in Burma.

Xvlor Popa Taung Kalat Monastery in Mount Popa is Nat's home in Mandalay

Xvlor.com Popa Taung Kalat Monastery in Mount Popa is Nat's home in Mandalay

To the southwest is a 657 meter (2,156 ft) high volcanic rock has the top of a Buddhist monastery by climbing 777 steps. Visitors explore the labyrinth of temples among the herd of monkeys and find 360 degree panoramas to watch the ancient city of Bagan (Pagan) and Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River.

The legend of the Nats is thought to represent the previous animist heritage of religion in the Burmese countryside synchronized with Buddhism in the 11th century. A legend before the reign of Bagan by King Anawrahta (1044 - 1077) where hundreds of animals were sacrificed as part of the Nat worship ritual.

Mount Popa is considered to be the home of the most powerful Burmese and is thus the most important center of Nat worship which tells of the Tagaung kingdom on the upper Irrawaddy river which seeks protection from the Thinligyaung King of Bagan (344-387 AD).

The official pantheon on Mount Popa includes 37 Nats, but in fact only Mahagiri, Byatta and Me Wunna live here. Many pilgrims visit Mount Popa every year, especially in the full moon Nayon (May or June) and the full moon Nadaw (November or December).

Local people from the foot of Mount Popa in Kyaukpadaung went hiking to the summit in December and April when Myanmar's new year was called the Thingyan festival. Burmese superstitions say people should not wear red, black, green and carry meat, especially pork on Mount Popa because it can offend villagers.

www.xvlor.com Popa Taung Kalat Monastery in Mount Popa is Nat's home in Mandalay

Xvlor Popa Taung Kalat Monastery in Mount Popa is Nat's home in Mandalay

Location: Mount Popa in Mandalay Region, Myanmar.

Routes and public transport: Flight to Nyaung U Airport in Bagan, then drive to Mount Popa for 50 kilometers.

Advice: Popa Taung Kalat Monastery is located in the Mandalay region of central Myanmar where the sunny day has the view to watch Bagan as far as 50 kilometers (31 miles) and Irrawaddy River as far as 60 kilometers (37 miles).

The views from the top are fantastic and you are lucky to see one of the ascetic priests called the yeti walking slowly wearing a tall hat and occasional visit. Mount Popa Nat Festival takes place in March.

But be careful of monkeys! The herds steal food, wallet or camera! Families with children should be careful to keep away because they have large canines and sometimes drank snacks or shiny trinkets from visitors.

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