Bayin Nyi Cave

Bayin Nyi Cave was known as the Bingyi Caves in the colonial literature. Temple & Oertel visted the cave in April 1892. Temple described the location as "on the Dondami River, 51 miles from Maulmain, and 15 miles from Thaton".

Temple's 1893 description: "The Binjl Cave is situated in some low hills about 3 miles east of a village called, apparently indifferently, B'in'laing and Nyaungjan, on the left bank of what is usually known to Europeans as the Dondami River, but is really the B'in'laing River*. This village is about three miles below Duyinzek, and about 51 from Maulmain and 11 from Thaton. At the foot of the Cave is the village of B'injl, which is reached by bullook cart across jungle and rice-fields from B'in'laing Village. In front of the Cave is a pool of very hot water from whioh a stream issues, and over this stream is a single-plank bridge. The Cave itself is not situated
at the foot of the hill, and a climb of from 50 to 100 foot is necessary before reaching it. In the rains tho country between B'in'laing and B'inji is flooded. B'inlaing can be reached from Maulmain by ferry-launch to Duyinzek, 52 miles and thence backwards three miles by country-boat. Bullock carts can, by arrangement, be procured at B'inlaing. A special launch from Maulmain could, of course, be moored at B'inlaing , whichi is a station for procuring firewood for the ferries. In any case more than one day is necessary for the expedition.
Bad weather prevented the exploration of this Cave, which is much to be regretted, as it is necessarily but little visited. Old and now faded photographs, taken by the late Mr, R. Romanis, tho Government Chemical Examiner at Rangoon, in the possession of
Mr. George Dawson, the present owner of the ferries along the rivers which join at Maulmain, and the of the little Railway f'rom Duyinzek to Thaton, however, fortunately show that the Cave is of the ordinary Ramannadesa type, though not so profusely ornamented as usual as to walls and roof. The plan has been to place a series of pagodas or chaiyas down the centre and images
on platforms along the sides. This Cave has, however, a pagoda just outside it, which is unusual; and it will bo observed that this pagoda and those shown in the interior are not of ancient form.
The B'inji Cave is deep and dark, requiring the use of special lights, but at the end of it is a pool of water flush with the floor, and a pagoda, so situated as to be lighted from a hole in the roof, or more correctly in the hillside, after the fashion of the artificial lighting of the Ananda Pagoda at Pagan and of some Jain structures in India. There a fine reflection of the Cave, both roof and walls in the pool.

*The Dondami and the Chankaurit Rivers join at a few miles above Duyinzek, and form together the B'in'laing River, which, after running some 30 miles falls into the Salween some 25 miles above Maulmain. "

Another description - In a low tower 5 km from Binlaing, on the Binlaing or Dondami River, 82 km from Moulmein. A large dark cave containing pagodas and many images of the Buddha, attracting numerous devotees, and in past times, European travellers. Historical manuscripts and terracotta votive tablets have been found here (Dunkley et al 1989, taken from Johnston et al 1911).

From our 2009, I describe the hill as northwest of Hpa An, about 23 km from the Zwa Ga Bin Mye junction (which is south of Hpa An). The Dondami River is to the west of the hill. The hill rises steeply from the flat plains.

There are a few food and souvenir stalls at the carpark. A shady path runs alongside a pool where there are some hot springs. There's a temple complex with a pool and lots of statues of various kinds and colours. Steps lead up the hill to Bayin Nyi Cave. This cave has lots of brightly coloured statues and Buddhas in the entrance chamber. Most look quite new. A concrete path leads through the cave and there are stal on either side of the path, some of which have been covered in graffiti. The path is raised in places which presumably flood at times. The cave ends in a small chamber with Buddhas. However there was no sign of the pool mentioned by Temple, so presumably this only occurs in the wet season. But I didn't notice the daylight opening either.

We surveyed the cave in 2009, it's 207m and runs in a NW-SE direction. Lots of people passed us as we surveyed, and the lights came on for a while. There are bats in the cave and lots of macaques outside which are chased away by the caretaker monk when they get too close.

Google Earth shows a nice view of the temple compound with the ponds.

cave statues……………… barefoot…………………graffiti……………………. surveying……………..macaque

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