Salay - The Colorful Ancient Religious Center
by Blake Johnson Jun 07, 2017
Salay is one of the most beautiful, but least visited places in Myanmar. It is located about 35 kilometers to the south of Bagan on the Irrawaddy riverbank. Salay remains an active religious center. Coming here, you have chance to enjoy the beauty of almost 50 monasteries, many ancient shrines and British colonial buildings adorned with beautiful woodcarving. The best way to pay a visit to this beautiful land is by private boat cruising on the Irrawaddy River from Bagan.
Things to Do and See in Salay, Myanmar
Yoke Sone Kyaung
Yoke Sone Kyaung is a 130-year-old monastery with a number of famous handicrafts and sculptures. Its name "Yokesone" means "many figures". Visiting Yoke Sone Kyaung, you will explore and find out about these figures. It is a huge wooden monastery constructed in 1882-1992 and designed as a copy of the Crown Prince House in Mandalay. The stories of Lord Buddha (also called the jatakas) and Ramayana legends are described in wooden sculptures along two sides of the monastery. Go inside, you will see the 17th- to 19th-century pieces behind glass cases and the Bagan-era woodcarvings. Yoke Sone Kyaung is one of the not-to-be-missed sights when exploring Salay.
Mann Paya is a modern pagoda lying in the complex about 450 meters west of the Paya Thonzu. The pagoda is home of a 6-meter gold Buddha made of straw lacquer. According to legend, local villagers found out the 6-meter wooden statue floating in the river after flooding in 1888. Then, they pulled it up and covered it in gold lacquer. The Buddha is considered as one of the largest spectacular lacquered Buddha images in Myanmar.
Shin Pinsar Kyo Paya
Shinpinsarkyo Paya is located about 6 kilometers to the southwest of Salay. It is a Bagan-era pagoda, but renovated in the years. People also call it as Temple 88 for remembering easily. Temple 88 is full of original woodcarvings. You will be surprised due to a glass- and tile-filled pagoda inside with two original 13th-century wood Lokanats, which is considered as Mahayana Bodhisattva guardian spirits.
Salay House is another highlight of this beautiful village. It was built on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in 1906, and now known as a museum. This place preserves cultural and historical values of Burma in British colonial period. Beside, you can enjoy classic Burmese dishes and contemplate the beauty of the Irrawaddy River at the extensive outdoor decking and garden area.
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