Asian art

Pindaya Caves: a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma

Pindaya Caves: a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma

Pindaya Caves are a Buddhist pilgrimage site located in Myelat region, Burma. This place has gained tourist attraction in the recent years. Therefore, not only the Buddhist devotee but also tourists pay a homage to the Buddha and side by side enjoy the natural beauty of Burma. The site has altogether three caves on the hillside situated in Myelat region. Among the caves, those located in the southern parts are accessible to general public.

Legends associated with Pindaya Caves

There is a general belief that once all the seven princesses were bathing in the lake. They were all captured by a giant spider and were trapped in one of the cave. The princesses were later rescued by Prince Kummabhaya of Yawnghwe. To remember, his braveness, a sculpture of Prince Kummabhaya was constructed aiming with his bow and arrow to the giant spider at the entrance of the cave.

Features of Pindaya Caves

Buddha statues in Pindaya Cave

The southernmost pindaya cave is extended for about 490 ft. This cave is best known for the cave which contains over 8000 statues of Buddha. The antique Buddha statues housed in this cave have inscriptions dating to the late 18th century or early Konbaung period. It is recorded that the earliest possible Buddha statue dates back from 1733. Even though some of the statues don't have any inscription, Burmese Historian, Than Tun, believes that none of the statues were older than the 18th century. He also added that the Buddha statues were added on an ongoing basis by different donors throughout the cave's history. Therefore, a collection of statues was formed from early 18th century to modern period and this collection provides an impressive display of Buddhist Iconography. In this collection, we are able to see a different style of Burmese Buddha statues like Amarapura Buddha statues, Mandalay Buddha statues, Rakhine Buddha statues, Mon Buddha statues,  etc. This particular collection of Buddha statues also drives art and culture lovers to visit Pindaya cave and to observe the art form closely.

 

Buddha statues of Bhisakkaguru tradition

Other than these statues, there are about seventy unique statues of Bhisakkaguru tradition. These statues also date to the late 18th century. The physical appearance of the statues is different from most other statues from Burma. The main feature of this statues is the holding of a seed in the upturn right palm. Historian Tun reports that these statues are constructed based on Buddhist iconography of Mahayana tradition and are only present in the Burma. Therefore it can be concluded that the Pindaya cave was also used as the Mahayana Bhisakkaguru cult.

Golden Cave Pagoda

At the entrance of the southernmost cave, there is a Shwe U Min Pagoda or Golden Cave Pagoda which measures 15 m or 49 ft. It is believed that the pagoda was built by King Ashoka, The Great. The Pagoda was then renovated in the 12th century by King Alaungsithu.

Bronze Bell

At the entrance, we can observe a large bronze bell which was cast in 1842 CE. The weight of the bell cast is of 654 kg and has a barely readable inscription in its body.

The entrance gate

The present-day entrance gate was built in 1925 CE focusing on artistic value as well. The earlier entrance gate was collapsed with the objective to enlarge the entrance of the gate. In this process, some of the valuable Buddhist arts and epigraphs were destroyed.

A place for pilgrims:

With the objective to accommodate the pilgrims, a steel structure was constructed inside the cave. The inscription found in this structure indicates that a wide range of donors helped to build the building. They were from Theravada, Hindu, Chinese, and even Muslim communities. During the construction/ renovation, some of the antique Buddhist arts were removed to the nearby monastery but were destroyed during World War II.

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View our collection of Buddhist temples and shrines in our gallery

Antique wooden Burmese stupa

Antique wooden Burmese stupa

1,650 euro
Antique ivory Japanese Zushi shrine

Antique ivory Japanese Zushi shrine

3,000 euro
Old metal shrine with antique Burmese Buddha

Old metal shrine with antique Burmese Buddha

300 euro
Antique Burmese wooden temple panel

Antique Burmese wooden temple panel

400 euro
Very large Burmese wooden Temple panel

Very large Burmese wooden Temple panel

12,500 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Temple

Antique wooden Burmese Temple

450 euro
Antique wooden Burmese temple

Antique wooden Burmese temple

650 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Temple

Antique wooden Burmese Temple

600 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Temple

Antique wooden Burmese Temple

950 euro
Special antique Burmese Throne

Special antique Burmese Throne

2,950 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Temple

Antique wooden Burmese Temple

450 euro
Antique wooden Burmese temple

Antique wooden Burmese temple

550 euro
Antique wooden Burmese temple

Antique wooden Burmese temple

1,250 euro
Antique wooden shine with Buddha statue from Laos

Antique wooden shine with Buddha statue from Laos

1,500 euro
Large antique Japanese Zushi shrine

Large antique Japanese Zushi shrine

4,500 euro
Large antique Burmese Throne

Large antique Burmese Throne

7,500 euro
Antique Burmese Buddha Temple

Antique Burmese Buddha Temple

2,250 euro
Antique wooden Burmese temple panel

Antique wooden Burmese temple panel

1,450 euro
Very special antique wooden temple

Very special antique wooden temple

14,500 euro
Antique Burmese temple

Antique Burmese temple

1,250 euro
Antique Burmese stupa

Antique Burmese stupa

2,250 euro
Large antique Burmese stupa

Large antique Burmese stupa

2,350 euro
Antique Burmese Puja Mandir

Antique Burmese Puja Mandir

2,750 euro
Large Antique Temple Cabinet - Throne

Large Antique Temple Cabinet - Throne

5,500 euro
Large lavastone Stupa

Large lavastone Stupa

14,500 euro
Original teakwooden temple house

Original teakwooden temple house

35,000 euro
Antique Burmese Pagoda

Antique Burmese Pagoda

1,400 euro
Antique Shan wall panel / throne backside

Antique Shan wall panel / throne backside

9,500 euro
Antique temple

Antique temple

1,800 euro
Antique temple

Antique temple

1,250 euro
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