We started the weekend off by adventuring up to visit the Pagoda that our street we live on is named after; Kaba Aye Pagoda (also known as Kabaye Paya or a combination of the two). Directly next to the Pagoda stands what sounded like a very cool cave. Mahapasana Cave was completely man made for the Sixth Buddhist Synod that was held in 1954, this was a huge celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment. Both of these are found above Inya Lake, about 30-45 minutes above downtown.
The cave entrance was marked like many special places here - by a tall archway, glinting with gold and swirls. There was no cave in sight as we meandered down a small road lined with grassy spans, but soon, in between the trees we saw an epic entrance. The 30” doorway was dwarfed by the extension of the entrance that spread at least another 50” in the air. We paid the taxi driver and took a moment to stand and admire the immaculate stonework in the entranceway. Leaving our shoes at the small archway we passed a giant bell surrounded by the lion/gargoyle creature that accompany almost any special place. Anticipation grew as we walked the distance to get to the entry way and when we finally walked through the doors . . . we were very disappointed. What lay in front of us was an expansive space not unlike that of an auditorium where concerts and sports games are held. On each side of the open area were rows of chairs leading up to a platform with small golden Buddha statues lining most of the hall. At the front of the room there was a stage area with some fancy chairs and a retro Buddha. That was about it. Besides being massive, it was mostly unimpressive. Perhaps we would have appreciated it more it we would have known a bit more about it but it was hard not to be disappointed.
Walking back out to retrieve our shoes I noticed an interesting looking building across the street. Heading in to investigate, a kind, English speaking lady informed me that it was a place of teaching – a university of sorts I believe.
We continued on down a dirt road and shortly found ourselves at the back entrance of Kaba Aye Pagoda. Taking off our shoes again we carried them inside with us as we began our way around the small circle interior. There was a main room in the middle that was fairly small yet large enough for a good 20 or so people to kneel and worship at. It of course had a lovely golden Buddha figure presented at an alter. Outside the room there were 4 or so large Buddha statues that people were also worshiping at.
After circling around a time or two we stepped out into the white floored open area trying to get our bearings on which way we should exit – there were 4 or 5 exit areas. We chose the exit that looked the busiest, assuming that it would most likely lead us out to the main road. The exit was enclosed and packed with all sorts of goods for sale, most relating to worship but some just random (like a toy dog that walks and barks). I was impressed by some of the salesmen who were carving their goods by hand right in front of us (most of these being small wooden Buddha statues).
All in all it was a fun adventure and a nice way to spend a weekend morning however I don't think I would return here as there is not much more to see or do besides the above.
Alisa & Kim
Two expats living, teaching, and eating their way across this beautiful world