Monday, September 15, 2014

Kekku: Thousands of Stupas around a Pagoda -
a Magical Place

See the locations on Kekku Pagoda Google Map

Picture by jo.schz

Kekku Pagoda: Also: Kakku Pagoda and Kekku Myaw Daw Pagoda. An only lately discovered magical place. Two hours by car from Taungyi, a turn in a corner into a valley leads you straight to thousands of small pagodas clustered close to each other overlooking the Hopong Valley. Huge banyan trees that surround the pagoda compound. The stupas are thought to have been built in the 16th century. The legend says that the first pagodas were created by King Alaungsithu, the 12th century King of Bagan. Kakku counts more than 2400 stupas. In 1918 the monk U Thawna form the nearby village of Naung Hke registered a total of 2402pagodas. Many figures - angels, bird-men, musicians, dancers and floral designs - have been carved in stucco and originally brightly painted. A red additive in the stucco gives the figures an almost natural flesh-tone. The stupas stand around the main pagoda Paya Kyaukhpyugyi with a relic of Buddha. The pagoda is a testament of the religious devotion of the Pa-Oh people.
Kekku pagoda festival is usually held during March, during the fullmoon day of Tabaung. Then the Pa-O people come to pay homage to the pagoda in their best costumes. Tens of thousands of pilgrims come from all over the region. Hundreds of monks gather to recite the sutras on the morning of the Full Moon Day. The people offer food to the monks and bring candles and cakes to the shrines and wrap the images in small saffron-coloured robes. There are daily traditional performances by dancers and musicians and many food stalls set up for the festival market. After the full moon of Tabaung the festival is over. Read more by Hpone Thant. Read also this history of Kekku Pagodas.

Kekku Pagoda can be reached by the paved road from Taunggyi (42 kilometres) and during dry season by rougher roads over the mountains from Inle Lake. There ist a restaurant near the entrance of the pagoda. Tours often also lead to a Pa-O-Village nearby.

Picture by jo.schz

Picture by Michael Geminder

Read more about Kekku
See more pictures of the Kekku stupas and of a Pa-O village.
Get an impression on Youtube

The price for a taxi from Nyaung Shwe to Kekku is 55000 Kyat. You have to book a guide (5 USD) for visiting Kekku.

More discoveries around Inle Lake:
Inle Lake - where people live on the water
Hotels and Resorts around Inle Lake and in Nyaung Shwe - and Reviews by Guests
Nyaung Shwe Restaurant Picks
Wine tasting around Inle lake
Kalaw - the former British Colonial Town and the Colours of the Shan Hills
Pindaya Caves - a fascinating Pilgrimage Site

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