Photo: Seemingly Petra-inspired.

Po Win Taung Cave Temples and Shwe Ba Taung

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The vast cave temple complex at Po Win Daung is home to shallow niches scratched out of the sandstone by hand that sprawl on and on, seemingly endlessly. A kilometre or further is the even more stunning Shwe Ba Taung, which some have taken to calling Burma's Petra, but we think of it as more of a Burmese take on Ethiopia’s Lalibela. Both lie across the Chindwin River to the west of Monywa town.

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Po Win Daung has literally hundreds -- our guide reckoned 900 -- small temples and shrines dotting its scrub-covered hillsides, culminating in stupas and temples along the ridge line. It’s all appreciably low-key, unrestored and free of tourist coaches.

A section of the Po Win Taung cave temple complex reminiscent of nearby Shwe Ba Taung. Photo taken in or around Po Win Taung Cave Temples and Shwe Ba Taung, Monywa, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

A section of the Po Win Taung cave temple complex reminiscent of nearby Shwe Ba Taung. Photo: Mark Ord

The site is thought to have been conceived in the 14th century, though cave temple construction went on until quite recently. The majority seem to be post Bagan, 14th to 17th centuries, while most of the fading interior murals are reckoned to be 17th or 18th centuries. Footpaths and stone staircases link one to another so you could spend a lot of ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 700 words.)

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