One of the most serene spectacles Southeast Asia has to offer is the vision of Sagaing Hill at sunrise, its countless stupas, spires and temple towers glowing gold and pale-crimson above the dark, silty water of the Ayeyarwaddy. It lies opposite the historical site of Ava and 10 miles(16 km) southwest of Mandalay. Located in the north-west of Myanmar, on the Indian border, Sagaing Division is home to a population of 5.5 million inhabitants, spread over 36.534 square miles. For Burmese Buddhists, this is the sacred ground: “the foothill of Mount Meeru”, which becomes the major meditation centre for all Buddhists and a place where families bring their young sons to undergo the Shin Pyu ceremony, consigning their loved ones to a periods of monastic life. The Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda is a favourite viewpoint for photographers and an important religious site centered on a huge glided stupa. Probably the most famous of all Sagaing’s temples, however, is the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, 10 km (6miles) northwest of the city on the far side of the Sagaing Hills. Among the natives of the Sagaing Region, the Naga New Year Festival is usually held in January. This festival is most well-known from all over the world and many tourists come to visit the rare tribe’s culture of Myanmar. Sagaing’s other monuments are scattered over a wide area and, if you’re not on a pre-arranged tour, you’ll need a horse-cart or taxi to get around the highlights.