Top 10 Places in Pyay
1. Shwe Sandaw Pagoda
The Shwesandaw Pagoda is well known in Pyay. Shwesandaw meaning the Golden Hair Relics. The Pagoda is situated on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy River and Myanmar’s most venerated structure stands here. The former name of the pagoda was known to be Mya Thi Htin. It has a height of 127 feet high and standing on the plinth making a total measurement of 290 feet from the base. There are 64 surrounding smaller pagodas around the main one.
There is a chamber in the southern sector of the platform housing a duplicate of the Buddha's tooth relic of Kandy. Having been placed beside the original tooth-relic of Kandy for a time it is believed to have absorbed the aura of the original and become just as potent. The tooth-relic from the Shwesandaw Pagoda is customarily taken out from its chamber in the month of Dazaungmone (November-December) every year and ceremoniously taken on a tour of the city once every three years so that worshippers might pay homage to it and revere it with their own eyes.
2. Saehtatgyi Pagoda
Looming high over Pyay is Sehtatgyi Paya, a giant (maybe not 10 storeys, though) seated Buddha, which goes eye-to-eye with the Shwesandaw Paya seemingly watching over it.
3. BawBawGyi Paya
South of the museum outside the city walls are cylindrical Bawbawgyi Paya and cube-shaped Bebe Paya. Standing over 45 meters high the brick and plaster of Bawbawgyi Paya is the oldest stupa in the area. Other cube-shaped pagodas in the area include one thought to have been used by a hermit featuring eight Buddha reliefs along the lower half of the interior wall and a vaulted ceiling of brick.
4. Shwe Myatman Paya
Shwemyethman Paya meaning 'Paya with the Golden Spectacles' a refrence to a large white face sitting Buddha image inside the main shrine. The Buddha image wears a golden rimmed spectacles. Spectacles were added during the Konbaung era. There is a saying that this image can cure illnesses especially for eyes.
5. Shwe Natttaung Paya
Shwenattaung Paya means 'Golden Spirit Mountain'. This pagoda dates back to the Sriksetra era. Legend takes it back all the way to 283 BC from which it was reconstructed by a long range of Burman kings with the aid of local nats (spirits) A large pagoda festival is held here each year on the full moon of Tabaung (February/March).
6. Shwe Bon Thar Muni
This pagoda is located at the other bank of Pyay across Nawaday Bridge. The Pagoda compound is silent and you can feel beauty of nature.
7. Payagyi Pagoda
Once marking one of Thayekhittaya’s four corners, this towering pagoda probably dates from the 5th or 6th century AD. Three terraces encircle the slightly swollen, breast-like structure from its base; ‘ladies’ are not allowed on the upper one. The modern hti (pinnacle of the stupa) is lit up at night and lies a half-mile east of the bus station.
8. Akauk Taung Mountain
Akauktaung Mountain stands on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River to the north of Pyay in Bago Division. It takes 15 minutes by boat ride to reach the Akauktaung. Different sizes and styles of Buddha images are carved into the wall of the bank and the visitor can climb and visit the Akauktaung pagoda which lies at the top of the bank.
9. Sri Ksetra World Heritage
The highlight of a Pyay visit for sure is Thayekhittaya (or Sriksetra) – the ancient capital of Pyu Kingdom in the time period of from the fifth to the ninth century. Standing behind thorny bushes dotted with beautiful white flowers, the site consists of several antique pagodas like Patagyi and Bawbawgyi. Also, there is a small museum displaying artifacts such as royal funerary vases, silver coins, stone carvings, terracotta votive tablets, and statues of Bodhisattva, Dvarapala, Vishnu, Lakshmi as well as other Hindu deities.
10. General Aung San Statue
This gilded statue of Aung San on horseback is a handy landmark when navigating the center of town.