The caves of Myanmar: MyinMaHti cave

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P AKO LZW AungBan Loikaw road 1998

AKO LZW AungBan Loikaw road 1998

I first came to know about the MyinMaHti cave during my many visits to Kalaw. On the higher north side of the Kalaw Zay / market, facing the Taunggyi highway are several tour guide offices. They promote hiking tours and among them is the trek to the MyinMaHti cave. I have looked at their itenieries which include the trek to the Palaung village out of interest but never thought of hiking to the MyinMaHti cave from Kalaw although I had walked to the MyinTaik station and the Kalaw reservoir / dam during my student days.

I got to the MyinMaHti cave unexpectedly for the first time when I visited Loikaw in 1998. It lies in Kalaw township, 4 miles away as a crow flies from Kalaw, but on the road to Loikaw (4 miles) which began from the Taunggyi road just (2 miles) before it reaches Aungban. One has to go in an indirect way to reach it by road.

Once on the Loikaw road, the scene became very different, unlike any other place I have been. It is different from the view along the road to Pindaya and also from the rail track side view between Aungban and NyaungShwe which are also beautiful. Once one passed through a pass between 2 hills, one gets to a plain where there are hillocks as far as one can see and they are so beautiful that I stopped to take photos of the scene and some portraits.

When I saw the road side sign of the MyinMaHti cave, I dropped in to visit it. It was not in the original plan. This is the advantage of travelling by one’s car. One can stop anytime anywhere for a rest or a visit. Going along with tours also have their advantages of not being burdened with plans but one has to go along their iteniery which would most probably not suit you and travelling by bus or train, one cannot stop anywhere one chooses to.

The second time I got there was in 2000 when I went there intentionally while visiting Pindaya from Kalaw, but did not get there in 2008 when we went to Kalaw by bus and made tours by hired car from Kalaw.

At the MyinMaHti cave, there are many Buddha statutes, both outside and inside the cave as the cave is a Buddhist shrine. We went inside the cave and at the cave ends at another opening in the other side of the hill at some elevation from the entrance opening which lies near the ground level. The hill is not a very big one and rises out apart from others, unlike most limestone caves which occur inside massive limestone structures that have openings in the wall of the cliffs and extend inside to end somewhere.

The MyinMaHti cave is 1028 ft long from the entrance opening to the exit opening.

The original pagoda with 3 tiered Htis / umbrellas was first built by the king Thiri Dhammar ThawKa / ArThawKa / Asoka who built 84,000 stupas and have 84,000 lakes dug, and later repaired by king Anawratha and king Alaungsithu. Thus the presence of 3 Htis / umbrellas, although I wonder whether the Htis / umbrellas are actually the good deeds of the mentioned 3 kings as it is a well known fact that stupas of the Bagan era do not have Htis / umbrellas in their original form and the Htis / umbrellas now present in Bagan stupas are the good deeds of later donors.

There are also a collection of 28 Buddha statutes / HnaKyeit ShitHsu, 14 above and 14 below, donated by king Anawratha

OhnNaLone MywayShin stupa

Some of the Buddha images are of 3rd century AD while the earliest stupa is over 2300 years BP and there are many Buddha images of Bagan era

The cave is lined by stalactites and there are natural formations on the walls which have uncanny resemblance to life like structures. They are:

YaThe. PhoWin Gu / Zawgyi Gu with YaThe. Gaung Pyat / headless YaThe. human body structure

NatThamee ThaNaKharr KyaukPyin / Angel’s ThaNaKharr grinding stone

Kyauk Hsin MiTharrSu / rock elephant family

Kyauk Hsin Phyu Taw / rock white elephant

Kyauk MaHar BawDi Pin / rock Bo tree

Hsin Chi Taing / elephant tying pole Myinn Chi Taing / horse tying pole

Kyauk Nwarr / rock cow

Kyauk KhaYuThinn / rock conch

Kyauk Shwe Hintha / rock Brahiminy duck

There are also natural wonders

Kyauk Si Kyauk Mauung / Shan Mauung / Danu Mauung / rock drums: multiple protrusions of rock on the wall which make different musical pitches

NatThamee Yay Kan / Angel’s pond where water seeps out from the wall to collect and is always full year round and which when applied is supposed to bring beauty and be mind cleansing

3 NatThamee Tharr Myat / Angel’s breasts

Myin Mahti Cave : A 1,020 feet long cave circling through the limestone. It offers a variety of different little stupas and religious images, illuminated weakly by an old generator outside the cave. The first stupa was built in the cave over 2,300 years ago by King Thiri Damar Thaw Kayarzar and has three tiers of umbrellas.


Myin-ma-hti Cave Pagoda,near Taunggyi{A.D 17}

A Salient Myin Ma Hti

Kalaw which lies on the hilly region in the northern Shan State is located 4315 ft above sea level. If you look at the town from a distance, you can see a beautiful town in the midst of green and lush mountain ranges.

Now, we¡¯ll be presenting to you a salient natural cave, called ¡° Myin Ma Hti¡±, which is an ideal spot to visit in Kalaw. Myin Ma Hti natural cave is situated in Myin Ma Hti village, Kalaw Township. It is bordered with Pin Laung Township in the south and Myin Kapar village in the north. The Myin Ma Hti hill is 1075 ft high. It is an enchanting hill for visitors to take a tracking tour. Myin Ma Hti natural cave lies on the Pin Laung-HpeKhon-Loikaw motor road, 4 miles from Kalaw and 2 miles from Aung Pan.

This natural cave has existed for thousands years ago. The length of the cave is 1028 ft and there are many small caves on the either sides. The cave is also named Yewin cave because water flowed into the cave in the ancient time. It has one entrance and one exit. In the cave, many pagodas and statues have been built since over 2300 years ago, in the reign of King Thiri Dahmar Sawka and their handicrafts are intricate and unique. According to the archaeological research, some of the statues were built earlier than 17 or 18 AD.

At the entrance of the cave, there are many stalactites, where cool water is dripping steadily.

While observing these stalactites, you can also pay homage to the ancient historical Mywe Taw Shin pagoda with a three-tiered finial.

That¡¯s why, if you happen to visit Kalaw, in the Southern Shan State, we would like to urge you, do come and study Myin Ma Hti natural cave to be able to revere the pagodas and to obtain general knowledge, while viewing the lovely natural vistas and breathing cozy fresh air from the hill.


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