Mount Popa is the center of belief and is the pride of Myanmar. The temple at the top of the mountain is home to many large Buddha statues, and it also attracts many devotees from all over Myanmar.
When standing on top of Popa, watching the scenery around, the worries and sadness seems to follow clouds drifting away. The longer you enjoy, the more beautiful and magical sense you feel that few places in Myanmar have.
From the center of Bagan, the tuk tuk runs through bumpy trails, where the fields are stretched in the two sides. About an hour later, on the horizon appeared a mountain like Japan’s top Fuji. It’s Popa Mountain.
Popa Mountain is 1,518m above sea level, located in the center of Myanmar, about 50km southwest of Bagan. On clear nice days, the mountain can be seen from the Ayeyarwady River (Irrawaddy).
Mount Popa is the center of belief and is the pride of Myanmar. The temple at the top of the mountain is home to many large Buddha statues, and it also attracts many devotees from all over Myanmar. To reach the top of the mountain, visitors must pass 777 steps (about 45 minutes).
In addition to enjoying the fresh air, watching the sky and land, immense river, visitors to the top of Popa is also told the story of the legendary house of “NAT” or “soul” Taung Kalat, the place where worshipping 37 Nat, or saints in popular beliefs, the guardians of the poor in Myanmar.
On the way up to Taung Kalat, visitors stop several times to visit temples. At the altar of 37 Natas, we were told about the legendary story about the two Mahagiri brothers from the Tagaung at the head of the Irrawaddy, who were helped by the Thinligyaung king of Bagan ( 344-378). Their hope was that, after death, they would rest on top of Popa and be satisfied. The Mahagiri brothers became Nat to protect the destitute.
Another legend tells about Popa Meday (Popa’s royal mother), who in the past was named Me Wunna, who lived on Popa Mountain and ate only flowers. She fell in love with Byatta, a royal soldier gathering flowers from Popa to King Anawrahta of Bagan (1044-1077). Byatta disobeyed the king’s orders, protesters of the marriage and their children were taken to the palace. Me Wunna, because of the suffering, she died with Byatta and became a Nat. Her two children became heroes when serving the king, but were later blamed for building a temple in Taungbyone near Mandalay and executed. They became two powerful Nats, but their body was sent back to Taungbyone where the main festival was held annually in Wagaung month (August).
From the top of Taung Kalat you can see the panorama below. Although the area around the mountain is quite dry, Popa has 200 streams flowing around. The strong winds blowing across make the travellers feel so relaxed in the legend land of Myanmar.