Monday, 23 February 2015

Yedagone Taung

One of the highlights of visiting the Mandalay region is to see the fabled Yedagon Taung. The name means “Waterfall Mountain,” and it’s so called because during the rainy season, the water pours in great amounts down its great sloping hills. It's been a sacred retreat center for centuries for monks to practice Vipassana meditation intensively, away from civilized society.

The area is a microcosm of the tourist boom and the affect it may eventually (and unfortunately) have on religious sites in Myanmar. Recently, it has seen an influx in outdoor enthusiasts, especially those looking for caving and rock climbing. Such heavy tourist activity has almost entirely destroyed formerly religious sites in Thailand, and one hopes that the same will not soon be seen in Myanmar. 

It’s best to go by motorbike from Mandalay. To get there, follow 33rd street east to the T-intersection, and after turning right onto the main road, then the first left. Walk ten minutes on a gravel road, and after one passes a village, the monastery sits atop a hill, with the waterfall just beyond. People in good shape can climb the waterfall cliffs, where one will be treated to one of the best views one can find of Mandalay. You can reach the area by following 19th Street east, either by pickup, or via car or bike.

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