Nat Worship

Mount Popa, Burma

This Nat shrine, located at the base of the summit, contains statues of the 37 chief nats of Burma. Their names and histories were formalized by King Kyanzittha (1084-1113) when he integrated them via usurpation into the Buddhist system. Some of the 37 nats are Hindu gods – here is Ganesh, for example – while others derive from local Burmese legend.

There are two Nat festivals here each year, one in the summer and one in the winter. They feature various animist practices, including trance mediumship and spirit possession.