Discover Mount Popa - Bagan
The Popa Taungkalat Shrine is a splendid Buddhist monastary that sits, like a gorgeous castle overlooking its citizens from the top of a volcanig plug and is accessible after climbing 777 steps. It is also believed that the Popa Taungkalat is where the 37 Mahagiri spirits live, and so there are statues depicting these 37 spirits found in the Shrine. If you're interested in appreciating architecture, gorgeous views and would like to learn more about Buddhist monasteries, Trip Guru suggests that you make this visit at the top of your priority list.
Translated to English, Popa is “flower,” and Taung Kalat means “Pedestal Hill.” Sitting pretty in the middle of a volcanic plug, it is a fitting name. The term volcanic plug is used because the magma that was supposed to erupt froze inside the vent, acting as a stopper, and it is here where the monastery was built, as the volcano is now thought to be extinct. The great Taung Kalat rises up to 737 meters with the monastery at the apex. One of the things that a travaller must not miss is experiencing the climb of 777 steps to be able to witness a view of the landscape that takes your breath away--because from the top of the gorgeous mountain, you can fully enjoy the picturesque sight of Bagan.
Now while the area that surrounds Mount Popa is quite dry, the mountain itself is rich and fertile, with plenty of streams and lush springs that make it appear as a beautiful emerald amidst the barren and dry land of central Burma. In the future, the people hope to create a national park around this area. The Burmese people also believe that the volcano is quite important to the Nats, which are 37 spirits that are revered alongside Buddha, and so this mountain is affectionately referred to as Burma's Mount Olympus.
Tourists and travellers that want to climb Mount Popa can get themselves there by hiring a car from Bagan and being able to reach the area in under one hour. There is also New Bagan, which as an airport perfect for catching a flight from the Yangon International Airport to New Bagan, or one can also choose to fly to Bagan from the International Airport in Madalay.