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Padah-Lin Caves

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Padah-Lin Caves

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Padah-Lin Caves are the most important prehistoric sites in Shan State, Myanmar was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on 4 October 1996 in the Cultural category.


Padah-Lin Caves (also Padalin or Badalin) are limestone caves which are situated in Ywangan township, Taunggyi district, Shan state on the Nyaunggyat - Yayboke pack-track about four miles from Nyaunggyat and one mile from Yayboke and about 1,000 feet above sea-level, Nayaunggyat is located at latitude 21° 6' N and longitude 96° 18' E. There are two caves all facing south. As the habitation period of these caves fall during the Fourth Pluvial times, water supply would be quite plentiful but the people living in them.


Padah-Lin Caves were first discovered in 1960 by U Khin Maung Kyaw, a geologist. U Aung Thaw, Director General, Archaeology Department, excavated at Padah-Lin Cave No.1 in 1969. The excavation of Padah-Lin Cave No.1 yielded more than 1,600 stone tools, charcoal, wild animal bones, a few fragments of pottery and a rich record of rock paintings. Accumulated ash at the hearth inside the cave is about four feet deep. It shows that men had lived within them for thousand years.

The paintings at Padah-Lin Caves are the earliest cave art at Myanmar. In Cave No.1,excavated 1969-72,there are 14 rock-paintings in red ochre on walls and ceiling and charcoal pieces has provided dates of 13000 years before present time. Rock-paintings include animal figure, human hands, a fish and a blazing sun were drawn with red ochre (natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide which ranger in color from yellow to deep orange or brown) on the wall running south-west to north-east about twelve feet above the floor.

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The wall paintings of Padah-Lin Caves are well worth seeing. You can find two palms of hand, (some parts of the fingers are missing), an elongated drawing that look likes a fish with fins spreading or bone sticking out. An addition to this a thin layer of lime has obliterated some part of the figures. There might be elephants and another look likes a fish. Then you can find the blazing sun drawn between two irregular lines spreading outward above and meeting at the bottom ends. In one place, a small animal is drawn fairly close to a bigger one as considered as a calf following a cow and more.

You will need a prior permission takes about one month. The route is from Kume, on the way to Mandalay, by passing through the Kinder Dam. To make sure, you will need to book through an efficient travel agent to get permission and use the officially allowed route. However, It will be quite expensive but worth.

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