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Kakku Pagodas
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Good Time To Visit: The Whole Year
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      One of the Asia's largest and most spectacular ancient monuments is a wonderful Pagoda named Kakku. It contains over 2.000 stupas with origins dating back many centuries. It’s exists not only as an outstanding example of tradition art and architecture but also as a testament to the religious devotion of one of Myanmar's many ethnic minorities the Pa–Oh. For many centuries the Pa-Oh has lived in peace, cultivating their land and devoting much of their energy and limited wealth to creating monasteries and pagodas.

      Kakku is about 33 miles from Taunggyi. It will take about 3 hours drive by car. Kakku is located in the Shan State. Kakku is in the territory of Pa-Oh people. There are over 2000 stupas packed closely together in ranks and covering an area perhaps a square kilometer. The main stupa is around 40 meters high, the mass of the spire surrounding it uniformly. But each one is an individual masterpiece. The particular remarkable about the whole site is its good state of preservation. Originally each one must have been topped by a gilded metal hti. The multi tiered umbrella-like feature which is typical of Myanmar Pagodas. Many of these are tilted on fallen. External rendering of mortar and stucco has crumbled away on others, exposing the brick core while trees have established themselves in a few, threatening to split them apart.

       But so much of the originals still exist that this site must be free of the destructive force of earthquakes which have periodically ravaged many of the Myanmar's other monuments.
       External decoration on many of the stupas is simple almost sparse the builders having concentrated on pure grace and form for effect but other features elaborate decoration. Traditional motifs weave intricate patterns of arabesques and stems to create a delicate tracery of the highest artistic merit.
      Even more fascinating are the many figures carved in stucco and apparently originally brightly painted which adorn corner or pay silent homage beside the niches in the base many of which still contain antique Buddha images. Angels, musicians, dancers- all created with consummate skill. The remoteness of the site and reluctance of the local people allow visitors have helped to preserve its sculptures and artistic treasures to a degree unknown in other ancient monuments in Myanmar. Kakku is a priceless piece of mankind heritage, a truly splendid example of the creative talent of remarkable people. It will take about 3 hours drive by car.
      The legend says that the first stupas were created by King Alaungsithu, the 12th century King of Bagan. The decorative sculptures and figures are 17th or 18th century but some of the structures are clearly much older.
      On the full moon day of Tabaung (March) that is the last month of the Myanmar lunar calendar, Kakku Pagoda festival takes place. Normally the festival will begin two or three days in advance for this is not just a religious festival but also a social occasion. It is the time for all to have fun, exchange news and gossips, to trade. For the younger set it is the time to meet their friends from other villages or the boys to fall in love with the girls.
      As it is, all the people of the region arrive by the thousands, dressed in their traditional costumes. Some come in bullock carts while others arrive by more modern conveyances, on the village tractor.
      But the most interesting time to visit this place is to get there before dawn of the full moon day of Tabaung where the Pa O people in all their finery come with gaily decorated trays bearing morning food offerings.

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