Mount Popa is a volcano 1518 metres (4981 feet) above sea level, and located in central Myanmar about 50 km (31 mi) southeast of Bagan (alt: Pagan) in the Pegu Range. It can be seen from the River Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) as far away as 60 km (37 mi) in clear weather.
Mount Popa is perhaps best known for the nearby stunningly picturesque Popa Taungkalat monastery atop an outcrop. The Popa Taungkalat (Taung Kalat) Shrine is home to 37 Mahagiri Nats, or spirits. Statues depicting the Nats are at the base of the Shrine. The name Popa is believed to come from the Pali Sanskrit word ‘popa’ meaning flower.
Southwest of Mount Popa is Taung Kalat (pedestal hill), a 737 metre (2,417 ft) sheer-sided volcanic plug. A Buddhist monastery is located at the summit of Taung Kalat. At one time, the Buddhist hermit U Khandi maintained the stairway of 777 steps to the summit of Taung Kalat. The Taung Kalat pedestal hill is sometimes itself called Mount Popa and given that Mount Popa is the name of the actual volcano that caused the creation of the volcanic plug, to avoid confusion, the volcano (with its crater blown open on one side) is generally called Taung Ma-gyi (mother hill). The volcanic crater itself is a mile in diameter.
From the top of Taung Kalat, one can enjoy a panoramic view. One can see the ancient city of Bagan; behind it to the north, the massive solitary conical peak of Taung Ma-gyi rises like Mount Fuji in Japan