Mingun Pagoda

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Mingun Pagoda and the Bell

 

Mingun is a village just 7 miles (11 km) cruise from Mandalay. It also can be reached by road just a few miles out of Sagaing. There are only two notable things of historical importance; one is the magnificent and huge Mingun Pagoda known as Pathodawgyi (Magnificent Stupa) built by King Badon (Bodawpaya) (1781-1819).

This is a very huge cubical mass hollowed out to accommodate a small shrine with a slightly projecting arch. The diminishing terraces were intended to decorate glazed colour plaques bearing relief scenes from Fifth Buddhist Synods (Councils). .

Unfortunately, these plaques had to be abandoned due to devasting to build to the height of 165 ft (50 m). The plinth of the pagoda covered an area of 450 sqft (41.86 sqm).

There are niches at the four cardinal points. This pagoda was projected to reach the height of 500 ft (152 m). Even in a ruined state, this pagoda is a huge mass of imposing brickwork not to be found anywhere else. Since the building of pyramids in Egypt, not so great has ever been attempted in the 19th century.

Two great lion figures guard the said pagoda, being built in 1793. They are of 95 ft (29 m) high and each of the orbs measures 9 inches in circumference and claws are 5.5 ft (1.7 m) long and 4.5 ft (1.4 m) in circumference carved out of marble stones.

Legend tells, when these two great lions sponsored by King Bodawpaya are completed in 1796, the King was not fully satisfied with the work, so he asked the opinion of his wise and witty Minister whether they were perfect. The Minister at once gave a ready answer, “My Lord, these Lions are postured in such a different manner to the usual ones that they are life-like, poised as if they are going to jump over river Ayeyawady”. The King was so pleased with the explanation given by his Minister that he lavishly granted him rewards. The Minister was none other than the well-known witty Minister Bodaw U Waing.

Mingun Pagoda and Irrawaddy    
Settawta Pagoda    
  Close to Mingun is the Hsinbyume Pagoda,

also known Myatheindan Temple. Built in 1816 in memory of Princess Hsinbyume. The name translates to “White Elephant”. The structure has a unique  design and symbolizes Mount Meru. This whole area somehow looks like a cutout from a fairy tale. There are a couple of monasteries and plenty of monks, nuns and novices. Visiting this places is one of the top daytrips in Mandalay.

Hsinbyume Pagoda
     
 
 
 


 

King Bodawpaya had a dream

he wanted to build the biggest pagoda on earth and construction was started in 1790 it should have been a Buddhist monument with 150m height. The process was halted in 1797 because he run out of money, yes, this can even happen to a king, a unfinished brick building remained. He had to invested too much into the constant war with Arakan and there was unfavorable prophecy telling "when the pagoda will be finished, the country will be ruined".

There were several attempts to revive the process but the big earthquake in 1838 which destroyed the first 50m gave the project the rest.

The King died in 1813 at 75 after ruling 38 years, what was left? A broken shrine, 122 children and 208 grand children, at least he was a productive men.

 
 

 

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                                                      Thaton, Mon Kingdom, Suvarnabhumi, Moattama, Martaban, Mon State. Theravada Buddhism, Shin Arahan, King Anawrahta
   
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