Thiri Mingalarpon Kyaung

Eastern Myanmar

Dating back to 1912, this attractive monastery formerly served as the palace of Kayah's saopha (sky princes) until 1959. After the last saopha passed away in 1987, his children donated the then-decaying structure to a local Buddhist organisation. Had they not done this, the government, at that time keen to do away with symbols of Kayah identity, would probably have allowed the building to fall into disrepair.

You can enter the central part of the monastery, where you'll find a few black and white photos of the last saopha and his family. Sadly, at research time, an ugly concrete building was being erected next to the monastery – to house yet more monks.

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