Taung Kalat, A Monastery On A Volcano

Taung Kalat, a monastery on a volcano

In the center of Burma is the most amazing of monasteries. It is the Taung Kalat, which draws attention not only for its architectural beauty, but also for how intricate it is to reach it and especially because it is located on the top of a volcano that is not known if it is active. Amazing right?

Taung Kalat, built on a volcano

Located 30 kilometers from the ancient city of Bagan, in the heart of Burma, is this amazing monastery. There are many aspects that make this monument something out of the ordinary, but without a doubt its particular location is the most surprising feature.

The Taung Kalat monastery was built on the neck of the ancient volcano called “Mount Popa”. Although many experts believe that the volcano no longer represents a danger, it is not known with certainty if it is inactive or not, hopefully this is the case, since in addition to a natural misfortune it would mean losing this spectacular Buddhist monastery.

View of Taung Kalat
Taung KalatOPIS Zagreb

The Buddhists venerate Mount Popa as a sacred mountain, they believe that there are the thirty-seven Nats or spirits of natural forces. Numerous local legends revolve around the formation of the mountain, whose monastery is considered the most important cult center in Burma.

The story goes that from the kingdom of Tagaung, the Nats sought refuge here from King Thinligyaung of Bagan (344-387). Later they built the monastery, to which the faithful go to bring offerings of flowers and food.

Taung Kalat, an almost magical place

Many Burmese go to Mount Pope each year to worship the Nats, although not all dare or can manage to climb to the monastery. And it is that in addition to being on the top of a volcano, access is quite complicated.

There is only one way to get to the Taung Kalat monastery, it is a 777-step staircase of a slightly steep climb up one of the slopes of the volcano. Physical disabilities or fear is what makes not everyone can venture up to the temple, would you go up?

View of Mount Popa
Taung Kalat – Trofimov Denis

Those who make it to the top are rewarded with one of the most amazing views of Burma. Watching the sunset in this mythical place full of legends, silence and peace is one of the most regenerating experiences that exist.

Taung Kalat monastery

Taung Kalat Monastery is one of the most beautiful and impressive architectural works in Burma.  Its columns are pieces of extraordinary beauty and its gardens are the ideal place to enjoy the imposing landscape and the peace that is breathed in that place.

Taung Kalat Temple
Taung Kalat Temple – Yusei

Numerous Buddhist statues and altars embellish the place where the faithful go to meditate and ask for favors. From the top you can see the small houses that are on the foot of the volcano. Of course, you must be very cautious, since there is not much security in terms of handrails at the end of the building, it can be dangerous to get too close to the edge.

Taung Kalat can be translated as “the pedestal hill”, a very appropriate name for this monastery that stands on top of this volcano at a height of more than 700 meters. An ideal place to forget about the problems that overwhelm us on a daily basis and find the peace and tranquility necessary to continue with more force than ever.

Climbing up to Taung Kalat Monastery can be an arduous task, but it is well worth the reward. And you, would you like to go up and get to know this magnificent monastery?

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