THE opening of the Alaungtawkathapa pilgrimage season for devotees have been moved forward from the previously announced 23 December, according to an official of the Alaungtawkathapa National Park. The much revered Alaungtawkathapa religious area with its many pagodas is located in the Yinmabin District of Sagaing Region.
There are more preparations needing to be made for the coming pilgrims and foreign tourists, the opening date has therefore been postponed. We expect to open on about 27 December.
“This year with the guidance of the deputy minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry, we are going to add more elephants from the Department of Forestry to the pilgrimage site” said the official. Before, only elephants from the national park were used to carry the pilgrims to the pagoda site but as pilgrim and visitor numbers are expected to increase this year, more elephants have to be added to the menagerie, he added.
Elderly pilgrims and children are prioritised to take the elephant rides which are between 6 am and 11:30 am and 3 pm and 6 pm everyday, during the season. The roads have also been improved, said the official.