Snake Pagoda (Hmwe Paya)-Mandalay Attractions
Snake Pagoda (Hmwe Paya) is quite different from the other pagodas near Mandalay. This pagoda is characterized by the large pythons that live in this pagoda, happily recoiled around the statue of Lord Buddha that is housed within the pagoda. The pagoda was founded in 1974. It is said that a Buddhist monk who served the old pagoda on the site witnessed two large pythons encircled around the statue of Lord Buddha. The monk carried the pythons to the jungle and returned to clean the pagoda. The snakes were however back in a day and every time they were carried back to the jungle they would come back to the site.
Over time, the monks started believing that the snakes were actually reincarnated souls of monks who had earlier served the pagoda. They didn’t remove the snakes henceforth and began to look after them. The original snakes have died but new snakes were later on donated by devotees. The original snakes can still be viewed in the pagoda as they have been retained in a taxidermied state. The monks take extremely good care of the snakes that are currently housed in the pagoda and feed and bathe them regularly.
There have been no untoward incidents and the snakes have never hurt anyone and are quite happy to be touched by visitors to the site. In fact the insides of the pagoda are adorned with pictures of families who have visited the pagoda and happily posed with the snakes. In fact the area surrounding the Snake Pagoda (Hmwe Paya) is also worth exploring.