One of the most scenic sites of Myanmar with numerous pagodas crowning the top of the hills lay 21 km south-west of Mandalay and west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Sagaing is famous as a Buddhists retreat where over 400 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation around the Sagaing Hill which is dotted with pagodas.
Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, the dome shaped Kaung Hmudaw Pagoda and Ywahtaung (home of the silversmiths’ guilds) are places worth visiting. Innwa Tadar (Ava Bridge) is the oldest bridge built across Ayeyarwaddy. Nearby is the famous Thabyedan Fort. Myanmar from all over the country would visit Sagaing for the purpose of religious retreat.
Innwa lies at the confluence of Ayeyarwaddy and Dothtavati rivers about 20 miles south west of Mandalay. The King Thadominbya founded the city in 1364 and it flourished for nearly three hundred years bringing forth its culture and literature to the highest pitch. Nanmyint Watch Tower, Maha Aung Myay Bonzan Monastery, Bagaya Wooden Monastery, Menu brick monastery and alms bowls and lacquerware Industry are the highlights of Innwa.
Located about 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the western banks of Ayeyarwaddy River, is a town well-known for its 90 ton Mingun Bell, the largest ringing bell in the world; a mammoth unfinished Mingun Pagoda overlooking the Ayeyarwaddy River; Settawya Pagoda and Sinbyume Pagoda. 45 minutes cruise along the river can view some of the village people’s life on the river banks.
Beyond Sagaing 160 km from Mandalay is Monywa. After crossing the Chindwin river by ferry boat and 15 minutes drive, it's Powintaung and Nwathotaung, impressive extinct volcanoes with some 446, 444 Buddha Images placed in sandstone niches, about 15 minutes from Monywa, Kyaukka village is famous for its bamboo ware products. On the way back to Mandalay, one may visit Thanboddhe Shrine,a different type stupa, largest reclining Buddha Image and thousands of Bo trees.
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