Taunggyi is the capital of the Shan state in Myanmar. Most visitors come to the Shan state to visit the Inle Lake with its floating markets and gardens.
A less known sight occurs annually in October-November in Taunggyi. This capital of the Shan state hosts the Tazaungdaing Festival is held, 6 days before the full moon of Tazaungmone (November).
The Taunggyi Balloon festival is held only once a year after the end of the Buddhist Lent. Traditionally it is a festival to pay homage to the Sulamani Pagoda in heaven by sending up decorated balloons.
The paper balloons are 15-20 feet tall, decorated on the outside with colored cellophane lanterns. The lantern contain candles, forming different designs. A flame heats the air in the balloon which quickly ascend, carrying a 10-15 foot long tail, filled with various types of firecrackers, that continuously light as the balloons ascend.
Watch the making of the small children’s balloons, in the shapes of various animals and mythical creatures (if not there you can see this in ANY city in Myanmar!) and of course the Competition between individual villages for best decorated and high flying balloons.
The Buddha birth stories (Jatakas) tell that prince Theidatta made a great renunciation, afterwards shedding His hair and flung them into the sky.
The king of the 33 gods (Tagyarmin) took those hairs and enshrined those into the “Sula Mani Pagoda”. To honour this pagoda, the hot air balloons take off into the sky each year.