|Location:||Yinmapin Township, 22 km from Monywa, on the other side of Chindwin river upstream.|
|Open:||no restrictions |
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|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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Powintaung (Mountain of Isolated Solitary Meditation) is a remote monastery which is best visited on a day trip. The road is 50 years old and requires a 4WD. As the site is a popular pilgrimage destination the road will be rebuild with money from donations.
The three hills at the river Chindwin, Shwe-ba-taung, Phan-ga-taung and Nwa-tho-taung, are composed of sandstone. The most prominent is Shwe-ba-taung, with the caves of Powin-taung. According to legend the temple was started by Pyu King Bandawa. He was invited by King Anawrahta (1044-77) to the consecration of the Shwezigon Pagoda at Bagan. When he was on his way home, he spotted this place and decided to build Buddha statues and stupas here. Since then many temples have been carved out of the solid sandstone.
In contrary to the common cave temples, which were built into natural caves, this one is carved into the rock. The temples are artificial and the sculpures were formed out of the living rock on location. The chambers are between 5 m and 20 m long and between 3 m and 5 m high. There is a total of 947 caves in the complex.
Although there is no evidence, some inscriptions make it quite probable that the caves were started 700 years ago. However, the majority of the caves dates to the 18th century. One cave has a lying buddha statue, the others show colorful murals on walls and ceiling. The ceiling is either flat or barrel vaults.