Pindaya Cave

Useful Information

Location: In the hill above Pindaya village.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave SubterraneaCave Church
Light: electric.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Pidaya Caves are natural karst caves of some size, passages up to 10m high, with many speleothems. But they are famous for their artificial content, virtually thousands of Buddha statues in all shapes and sizes. The cave is used as a holy place and buddhist temple, so it is actually heavily damaged by the use and most speleothems are destroyed. The side passages are numerous and used for meditation and praying.

The Buddha statues cover most of the main chamber and almost every corner of the cave. The origin of the statues is not known, it seems clear that they were created over a very long time, by different artists using completely different materials and techniques. Some are made of teak wood, the main export article of Myanmar, others are made of alabaster, brick, marble, plaster, or even cement. Some are covered by lacquer but most are covered by gold. Today statues are newly installed by Buddhist organizations from as far as Singapore, Netherlands, and the USA.

The current amount of statues is somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000, and there are different exact numbers given, it seems to be rather difficult to count them. The number we read most often is 8,094, so we guess there is a chance that this might be the true number.

The huge monastery around the cave is named Shwe Oo Min Pagoda. There are virtually thousands of golden stupas, starting at a huge field where they are aligned in rows, along the trail to the cave, and after the cave the trail goes further up the hill with even more. The main buildings of the monastery are above the cave at the flank of the hill. The trail forms a loop along the cave and monastery and is covered by thousands of small roofs, which provide protection from the hot sun or from heavy rains during monsoon.

Located in Pindaya District, it sets high on a limestone ridge above Pone Taloke Lake. This winding complex of natural caves and tunnels is filled to bursting with Buddha images in an astonishing variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. The stairs leading to the cave are about 3.21 km south of town on Shwe U Min Pagoda road about 15 minutes walk from the town. At the latest count, the caves contained more than 8094 statues, some left centuries ago by local pilgrims and others The collection of alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement images is still growing. Pilgrims arrive in a slow but steady stream, installing new images and meditating in tiny, naturally occurring meditation chambers in the cave walls. Opens at 09:00