Shwe Ba Taung, excavated temples • Myanmar

Unlock the Mysteries of Po Win Taung: In under 4 minutes, journey to Monywa, Myanmar and witness the marvel of temples, recently carved into the sandstone, standing as a testament to the convergence of history and innovation. The Shwe Ba Taung site, with its intriguing Western influences, paints a unique tapestry of ancient traditions and modern inspirations. Marvel at the intricate details, reminiscent of the famed Ellora caves and Petra, and ponder the enigma: Why were such wonders crafted in recent times, and what’s the story behind the British emblems? Dive into this visual exploration and unravel the tale of a city carved into the rock.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Myanmar • Burma (EN)

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.

About a kilometer from the ensemble of cave shrines dating from the 14th to 18th centuries near the town of Monywa in Myanmar, is another much more recent cave site.

Shwe Ba Taung

The site of Shwe Ba Taung, whose origin dates back to the 19th century, is made up of 46 temples carved in sandstone. If the first temples were excavated in the middle of the 19th century, some are more recent and date from the first half of the 20th century.

What characterizes this place is the feat achieved by its builders who dug an enormous sandstone slab over 10 meters to not only create the cave temples, but also the streets and stairs of this set of temples that has the aspect of a small town.

This technical feat is somewhat reminiscent of the craftsmen who created the Ellora caves in India or the site of Petra in Jordan.

The style of this set of temples is very different from the nearby site of Pho Win Daung about a kilometer away.

Western influences are undeniable, and the whole leaves a somewhat strange impression. On the one hand, these pastel facades give off an irresistible impression of kitsch, but on the other hand the fervor that the realization of this immense work of excavation in a hard rock necessitates commands respect.

While cave achievements are usually much older, one cannot help but wonder why these temples were dug in such recent times. And also why British emblems adorn the pediments of some of these temples.

about the place, Pho Win Taung:

Located about forty kilometers from Moniwa in Myanmar, the Pho Win Taung site is famous for its excavated temples. Temples carved into the rock are part of Buddhist traditions. Pho Win Taung has around 800 caves carved into the rock and there are nearly 4,000 sculptures. There are also sanctuaries (monasteries, convents and stupas) whose walls are painted.

The excavations of Pho Win Taung date from the beginning of the 17th century.

About a kilometer from these caves, another more recent troglodyte site. Shwe Ba Taung dates from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The influences of this other site are more eclectic, mixing Western architectural styles with the Buddhist tradition of Burma ...



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• Disclaimer: As traditional music is often subject to copyright (claimed by major music distribution groups), the musical illustration of this film "Shwe Ba Taung, excavated temples • Myanmar (EN)" does not use typical music of Myanmar but is borrowed from a collection of royalty-free music. Despite the painstaking care given to the musical choices in this film, some people may regret this choice, but it is the price to pay for not incurring unnecessary lawsuits. This decision was difficult to take, but it's the only viable solution, unfortunately. •

young monk playing with a remote control car, Pho Win Taung • Myanmar
site entrance, Pho Win Taung • Myanmar

site entrance

statues in front of an excavated temple, Pho Win Taung • Myanmar

statues in front of an excavated temple

Buddha statues in one of the temples, Pho Win Taung • Myanmar

Buddha statues in one of the temples

excavated facade with distinct British influence, Pho Win Taung • Myanmar

excavated facade with distinct British influence

Shwe Ba Taung

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