Pindaya is a small quiet town perched on the bank of the placid Botoloke Lake. The Pindaya cave. containing thousands of Buddha images. is the main destination in this region. Pindaya is a small quiet town perched on the bank of the placid Botoloke Lake. Pindaya cave is a huge cavern where hundreds and thousands of Buddha images in various size and shape are installed since the 11th century. The winding galleries and nooks and corners are ideal places of insight meditation since the olden days. Huge monastery compounds with numerous pagodas and temples in different stages of dilapidation are much respected by such ethnic groups as the Shans. Danus and Paos living in the environs of Pindaya.
The ancient caves are about one mile southwest of the town. and can be reached by taking a horse-cart. or motoring there by jeep or just walking along on foot. Except for the young and energetic. the best way is to go leisurely be horse-cart to the foot of the hills. reserving your energy for the 200 steps up the covered stairway leading to the cave entrance and for exploring the huge meandering maze made up of numerous caves. The caves are supposed to be 200.00 million years old and since ancient times they have been places of worship and veneration with 8.094 Buddha images made from various materials like teak wood. marble. alabaster. brick. cement and lacquer. and all enshrined in the nooks and corners of the winding caverns. At the entrance to the main cave thee is a pagoda 50 feet in height. This pagoda is called Shwe U-min Hpaya or the Golden Cave pagoda.
The tazaung or prayer hall was built by the famous hermit U Khanti who also built many of the religious edifices on Mandalay Hill. The entire length of the cave is 490 feet. The numerous stalactites and stalagmites in these limestone caves. from fanciful shapes and have given rise to such names as the "Fairy Princess Loom". "Posts for tying horses and elephants" and so on. Some of the smaller caves used meditation chanmers are accessible only if you crawl in on your knees and elbows. Visitors should plan to stay for one or two nights in Pindaya to explore the natural beauties all around; the tranquil lake. the limestone caves. the ancient pagodas and images and the lovely old trees.
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The most convenient way is to fly from Yangon to Heho. which is the nearest airport to the lake. There are daily flights to Heho which take about one hour. The flight from Mandalay to Heho takes only 20 minutes. Travelling by car along the uphill and winding road over the Shan Plateau. though taking some few hours. is interesting and well-worth taking. There is also a regular train service via Thazi Junction to Heho and Shwenyaung. the nearest station to the Lake.