The Hsaddan / Saddan / Chaddanta Cave

 

As caves go in Myanmar, Hsaddan Cave is not a beautiful one although it is the largest one I have been to inside Myanmar. However, the boat ride beyond the cave and the beautiful nearby hills make it one of the best places to visit in Myanmar and it reminds me of Trang An near Ha Noi, Vietnam, which has been called the inland Halong due to the similar shaped hills.

View on the way to Hsaddan Cave

 

A visit to the Hsaddan Cave from Hpa An takes half a day and although the first part of the road is a good highway, the branch road to the cave is a non paved one. The initial part through the village has many high than usual speed bumps that made passing them very time consuming as I had to inch up and down the humps. Beyond that village, the road is fine although not paved but it is a long way to go that crossed another non-paved highway. Near the Hsaddan Cave, the beautiful mountains can be seen.

The Hsaddan Cave from a distance

 

 

View at the other end of the Hsaddan Cave

The boat ride in the lake beyond the Hsaddan Cave and through the tunnel cave and beyond reminds me of the boat ride in Trang An, Vietnam.

Lake beyond the Hsaddan Cave

 

 

Boats entering the tunnel cave

 

Entering the cave tunnel. Light at the end of the tunnel

 

Light at the end of the tunnel

 

 

Nearing the tunnel exit

 

Near the end of the tunnel

 

Exit from the tunnel

 

 

Caves beyond the tunnel at the Hsaddan Cave that are still submerged

Caves beyond the tunnel at the Hsaddan Cave that are still submerged

 

 

 

Lake beyond the tunnel at the Hsaddan Cave

 

Passing the boat which returned from the end

 

The canal to near the Hsaddan entrance

 

 

Nearing the boat ride at the Hsaddan cave

 

End of the boat ride at the Hsaddan cave

After the boat ride, there is a walk back to the Hsaddan Cave Entrance

Cave beyond the tunnel at the Hsaddan Cave that is no longer submerged

Dry cave at Hsaddan cave

 

Cave beyond the tunnel at the Hsaddan Cave that is no longer submerged

 

Caves beyond the tunnel at the Hsaddan Cave that are no longer submerged

 

 

 

Hsaddan Cave is named after the Chaddanta King Elephant Jataka, one of Buddha’s previous lives. The Chaddanta elephants are one of the rarest breeds and considered by many to be the highest class of elephants. These elephants are unique in appearance, not only with bodies of pure white and feet and faces of a deep scarlet but with six tusks. The Chaddanta King Elephant had 2 elephant queens, the Maha Thubatha / Mahasubhadda and Sula Thubatha / Chullasubhadda. One day, King Chanddanta placed flowers on the elephant queens and the ones placed on Chullasubhadda contained ants which bit her.  The dry leaves, twigs and red ants from the tree fell on Chullasubhadda but the flowers and the pollen of the tree rained on Mahasubhadda.  Chullasubhadda became angry and vowed to take revenge on the King Chaddanta.

After Chullasubhadda died, she reincarnated as a human royal and became a queen and one day she pleaded the King for the tusks of the  Chaddanta King Elephant. The King sent the  Chief Hunter Thaw Note Ta Ra / Sonuttara who took seven years to finally find Chaddanta. He devised a sly plan and dug a pit next to Chaddanta cave and concealed it by covering it with the twigs and leaves of the forest. Sonuttara hid inside the pit and when Chaddanta was astride it, he shot Chaddanta with a poisoned arrow. Chaddanta searched for the enemy and found Sonuttara and took him with his trunk and asked why he did this. Sonuttara explained about the orders of his King due to the request of the Queen and Chaddanta realized it was Chullasubhadda who was revenging for the earlier incident. Chaddanta know he would die anyway and broke his tusks and gave them to Sonuttara who returned and presented them to his King and Queen.

 

 

Hsaddan Cave entrance elephants

 

 

Stairs up to the Hsaddan Cave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strange design on roof of the cave

Part of the roof had fallen in

 

Steep stairs down

Have to go up again

 

 

At the middle of the long cave

 

 

light ahead

 

 

The Hole on the Cave roof drilled by the Chief Hunter Thaw Note Ta Ra / Sonuttara

 

Chedi on top of a stupa shaped stalagmite near the end of the Hsaddan cave

 

 

The exit

 

Final descent

 

The way out at the other end

One can return by the tunnel route but taking a boat ride and a short walk is worth going as one can get a splendid view of the countryside, nearby mountains and the mysterious caves both still submerged and those now dry.

 

 

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