Kakku, Kekku - Shan State
The pagoda area of Kakku (also known as Kekku) lies just 40 kilometers south of Taunggyi. Kakku, a religious center of Pa-O people, itself covers an area of one square kilometer and contains more than 2,500 stupas, which represent the Buddha's footprint. Most of these pagoda are thought to date back to the 16th century although many more had been added over the centuries. Nobody knows the exact origin of this forest of pagodas, but one story is that a wild boar helped a married couple to find gold relics of the Budhha in the ground. As a token of their gratitude for this treasure, the couple built the first stupa here. Later the words "wet"(pig) and "ku" (help) were corrupted into the present name Kakku. For a long time this temple area was unknown to the outside world. Some people in Taunggyi heard that there were ancient pagodas deep in the forest. But nobody saw them until a German journalist was led by Pa-O rebels to these stupas, who are now at peace with the government so it is open to the public since then.
Today some of the old, more dilapidated stupas are being renovated though this is rarely to their advantage. Nevertheless, the sight of these thousands of stupas, tightly packed together and often decorated with legendary, filigree figures, is hugely impressive.