The Bagaya Monastery (Bagaya Kyaung – Kyaung is Burmese for Monastery) is one of the most popular tourist stops in Inwa (Ava), Mandalay. Built around 1835 it is built on and around over 260 massive teak logs.
Set amidst rice paddies this picturesque five tired metal red roofed teak wooden monastery is still in daily use today.
You approach Bagaya Monastery down a narrow tree lined dirt road that will normally be full of local horse cart drivers.
Take off your shoes and go up the ancient stone stair entrance to the raised platform that the monastery sits upon. A walk around the outside of the main building reveals all the intricately carved wooden panels surrounding the doorways and windows.
You will see other sets of stone stairs leaving off the main platform to the sides and rear of the building, mostly into swampy areas.
On the left side of the main building is a tall pagoda tower building with a good stairway behind it. Go down this stairway to the outside of the monastery for a good spot for photos. Keep you eyes peeled as you walk around outside the monastery building as you may spot some squirrels jumping around on the rooftops. Very cute.
Inside the main monastery building tends to be a bit dark relying mainly on illumination from the open windows. This can make for challenging photos. There is a small golden Bhudda statue on an inner raised platform surrounded by an intricately carved bannister. Near that are some very old highly carved boxes that contain the monks books.
Google Maps reference to help you locate Bagaya Monastery (Bagaya Kyaung) in Inwa – Google maps
If you visit Inwa (Ava) and use one of the many local horse cart drivers they will normally always include a visit to Bagaya Monastery as part of your tour. Well worth the visit.