Bagan and Surrounding
Bagan is the most amazing sight in Myanmar, also the seat of the first Empire of Myanmar, stretching back from the Ayeyarwady, stand literally thousands of stupas and temples. Spectacular sight seeing in Bagan is sunset over the Ayeyarwady River, viewed from the top of Mingalazedi or Shwesandaw Pagoda. Lacquer ware is well known cultural product which it can be bought there.
It is a small town about 15km south of Bagan, down the Ayeyarwaddy River. U Pone Nya Museum, formerly the Yoke Sone Monastery, exhibits antique lacquer-wares, wooden reliefs and a large standing gilded Buddha image. The figures carved outside the front of the building are worth seeing. Another place worth visiting is Tha-ta-na Kyaung (Keythar monastery) where Tipitaka texts are housed in a large red lacquered cabinet.
About 30 miles (50km) from Bagan is Mount Popa, Popa Taung Kalut in Bama (Burmese), which soars 2417ft (737m) above the plain. This is the abode of a powerful spirit, the Popa Goddess. She was Princess Wunna Theingi, the sister of King Manuha, who had escaped while her royal family was being brought to Bagan. The Popa Mother is considered kinder than most spirits, or Nat as they are called, and much loved by her worshippers. She protects women and brings them good fortune. Her two sons are more powerful and more feared, for they will not hesitate to punish those who displease them. They have a separate shrine in a small village further north, near Mandalay. A few yards from the foot of the mountain is the shrine of Min Maha Giri, Lord of the Mountain, and his family of Spirits. He is the protector of house, town or city. He and his sister, Lady Golden Face, guard the Tharaba Gate of Bagan, with their images on either side.