Standing grand in north Yangon (Rangoon), Kabar Aye Pagoda is an ideal spot for meditation seekers or for those who prefer a serene pagoda experience. Translated as “world peace”, Kabar Aye was built in 1952 to host the Sixth World Buddhist Synod Council.
The pagoda shares an entrance with the State Pariyatti Sasana University, Maha Pasana Cave and a large lake. The cave was built to mimic the “Sattapani Grotto” cave in India where the first council was held.
The large teashop adjacent to the entrance is packed with pilgrims and monks and is a great spot to take a break. The entrance to the pagoda is swamped with small shops offering Buddhist trinkets, books, souvenirs and even palm and feet readings. While not as large as its more famous Yangon brothers Shwedagon and Botataung, the hollowed out centre offers a cool break from the sun and offers a large plaza.
Following the covered walkway that circles the plaza takes you to the Museum of Buddha’s Life and the Sangha. Although the museum is little more than a gigantic penny-tossing game surrounded by paintings depicting Buddha’s life, we can highly recommend visiting the green grounds of the university located through the next exit of the plaza. Monasteries and shrines huddle under giant trees that line the pathway to a large lake, where worshippers and couples can feed fish by the bread loaf. If you continue directly north to the next exit, you will find the Maha Pasana Cave.
A taxi will be your best way of getting here and will take you straight up Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, just north of Inya Lake. Coming from downtown, expect the fare to be 3,500 to 5,000 kyat. There is no admission fee to the pagoda but a camera fee of 300-500 kyat is supposed to be levied; no one has been there to collect those fees when we have gone.
Kabar Aye Pagoda is most rewarding for those looking for a more personal Buddhist experience or for families and couples looking for a peaceful afternoon. Inya Lake and the Gem Museum are near Kabar Aye Pagoda, making this an easy stop on a north Yangon sightseeing trip. However, if your sightseeing itinerary is tight, you could skip this pagoda in favour of Shwedagon or Botataung.
By Christopher Smith
Last updated on 8th July, 2014.