Buddha. Buddha everywhere.
Every possible space inside the cave is lined with golden statues of Buddha. Twisting Buddha lined paths splay out from the central stupa and lead to Buddha lined platforms and Buddha lined caves.
Some of the platforms are higher up giving you a great view of yet more Buddha’s.
The surrounding caves are often small and low. It’s possible to crawl inside and see more Buddha’s, but really there are enough outside…
Each statue bears a plaque detailing who donated the money and when. In total there are over 8000 Buddha’s. It may sound as though it could easily get boring but the scale and kitschness of the whole place made it thoroughly enjoyable.
Further down in the lower levels, construction is still in progress. Here the light changes from gold to blue and it gets damper and cooler. Here can be found the two weeping (or sweating, depending on your point of view) statues.
I started to take a few videos, as pictures don’t really do the place justice. These attempts were thwarted by a booming voice, echoing through the caverns. It took a few moments to realise, but it was speaking in French. It droned on and on, reaching deafening levels.
I wandered back to the start ready to tell whoever it was to have a little respect for the worshippers and other visitors, but was surprised to find a monk standing there. He took a deep breath and resumed the spectacularly loud and flawless French, while his tour group ignored him and thrust flash cameras into the face of an old lady, silently praying on her knees.
Visiting the Pindaya Caves
There’s a fee of 500 kyats to enter, and another 300 for cameras or video.
Read the next post for a handy shortcut in climbing up to the Pindaya Caves.