Monywa is a town located in the dry zone of Central Burma West of Mandalay. Monywa is the capital city and largest city in Sagaing Region and also on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River. Monywa is best known for two Buddhist monasteries located near each other South East of town.
The major tourist attraction in Monywa is Thambuddhay Pagoda. It is the most famous pagoda in Monywa and is the only pagoda with this unique shape in the whole country Myanmar. It is a massive Buddhist temple in Monywa. Thanboddhay Pagoda is a special structure in Myanmar because of the tiny sculptures. The pagoda was started on 20th June 1939 and completed on 2nd March 1952. Two giant white elephants guarding the entrance of Thanboddhay Pagoda. If you can go at the beginning of the Myanmar month of Tazaungmon around November you can see the annual pagoda festival. which goes on for several days when the villagers from all around come to enjoy the music and dancing. and buy from the various stalls set up by sellers from all over the country. The multi-arched temple interior is plastered with so many Buddha images more than 512028 small and large Buddha images that it feels like you’re walking through a Buddha house of mirrors. It is just a few kilometres far from the second-largest standing Buddha image in the world, Maha Bodhi Tahtaung.
Maha Bodhi Tahtaung Pagoda in Monywa has one thousand Bodhi Trees and each tree has a large Buddha Image underneath. It was established by Bodhi Tahtaung Sayadaw in the 1960s. It is a pleasant, peaceful place, filled with the song of birds, in a protected environment where nature and men are in perfect harmony. The glimmering 424ft standing Buddha is the second tallest in the world.
Another attraction is the Phowintaung cave complex and located 25 kilometres west of Monywa. According to Myanmar terminology, the definition of Pho Win Taung is the mountain which is unique for meditation. This complex also comprises over 900 caves and all of them are both large and small. Nearly 450,000 Buddha images can be found in these caves. This unique Buddha Images and precious paintings have been dated to between the 14th and 18th centuries. This hill is thought to be South East Asia’s richest collection of Buddhist mural paintings and images. There are about 900 sandstone caves with mural paintings. Some caves have beautiful exterior decorations. Some caves have large collections of ancient Buddha images some of which have been covered in gold leaf by local pilgrims.
About 20 miles east of Monywa, there is a famous Shwe Gu Ni Pagoda dating from the 14th century Shwe Gu Ni Buddha Image lies in Kyaukka village. It was then known as Kyaukka Shweguni in 1189 under King Bagyidaw Phannanshin. The pagoda festival is held in May each year when the whole compound is crowded with locals.
The Monywa is dotted with farms, glittering pagodas, and small villages. The rural area is mainly involved in agriculture, with crops like beans, palm sugar, and cotton. West of the Chindwin river is a large copper mine.