Locations: Kyaung Dawyar - Shwesetdaw 

Kyaung Dawyar NoviceThe most magical way to explore the culture of the Myanmar people and their deep devotion to teachings of the Lord Gautama Buddha, is to follow their most important pilgrimage routes. During their lives most Myanmar people will pay homage at least once at the shrines of Kyaung Dawyar and at the Buddha’s footprints at Shwesetdaw.

Legend tells us Kyaung Dawyar was visited by the Lord Gautama Buddha himself. He is said to have stayed at Kyaung Dawyar for a week teaching the local people he found there about his lives and Dhamma (Buddhist teachings). The pagoda standing on the banks of the Mon River was built in the memory of His stay. On His return journey to northern India, he stopped at Shwesetdaw on the bank of the Man river in the domain of the ruthless hunter Bandaka. Bandaka is said to have listened to the lectures of the Buddha and become a monk, and requested that the Buddha leave his footprint to remind people of his passing, and as a gift for the King of Naga.

Kyaung Dawyar pagoda is visited not only by the human pilgrims, but also by fish pilgrims! The giant river catfishes appear in the Mon river during the Buddhist's lent - July to September - for 3 months. People believe that the fishes come to pay homage to the Buddha. They appear on the full moon day of Waso (4th month of Myanmar calendar) and disappear after the full moon day of Thidinkyut (the 7th month of the Myanmar calendar). Human pilgrims feed them the pop-corn, rice cake and dried bread.

Located between Mon creek and the Ayeyarwaddy river 180 km south of Bagan, Kyaung Dawyar is greener than other parts of the central Myanmar and an important rice growing area. The magnificent wooden monasteries of the18th and 19th centuries found there are still run by honorable monks. Shwesetdaw Pagoda is about 3 hours drive from Kyaungdawyar deep in the Chin Hills. The area is located in the middle of the habitat of a rare species deer and a wildlife park is maintained there. Shwesetdaw festival time is during February and March. Strangely enough, there are many fossils in the mountain range around Shwesetdaw.


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