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Mount Popa & Salay


View of the shrines on top of the hillock of Mt. Popa
from the Popa Mountain Resort

About 30 miles (50km) from Bagan is Mount Popa. Mount Popa is often described as Mount Olympus of Myanmar and it is considered the abode of Myanmar’s most powerful spirit, the Popa Goddess. A strong believe of spirit worship and the influence of animism can be witnessed in and around Mount Popa.

 


Nat Figures in the prayer hall
at the base of the hillock

Gateway of the stairs to climb up
to the top of the hillock

The drive from Bagan to Popa takes less than two hours and passes through toddy palm groves. Long Bamboo ladders are tied to tree trunks. Look up at the crown of the tree where there will be black buckets suspended. You will see agile young men shinning up the trees with empty buckets and down with toddy juice filled ones as part of the daily toddy juice collecting process. Sugar is made from the juice, as is rather potent liquor.

 


Palm tree climber
doing his daily work of
palm juice collection

One of the many
Peanut-seeking-monkeys
of Popa

Scene of the shrines
on top of the Hillock
through violet flowers

Although it is a short distance away for mere day-return excursion from Bagan, overnight is also possible due to the very relaxing atmosphere in the green tropical forest with decent lodging in a resort type of accommodation.

Salay can be made on the same day of the day-return visit to Mount Popa, or can be made as a totally separate day-return excursion from Bagan. The highlight in Salay is to see the all-teak monastery, Salay Yok Sone Kyaung, sumptuous with curvings featuring traditional motifs, scene from the jataka stories and those of ordinary people going about their lives. The figures are varying postures, some staid and some showing the witty mischief of the curves.

 
   

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