Mandalay Mahamuni Temple Pagoda Buddha

Mahamuni is the most venerated temple and pagoda in Mandalay and among the top 3 in Myanmar. The Mahamuni Buddha sculpture is a celebrated huge sitting Buddha called PAYAGYI (THE GREAT BUDDHA) by the Buddhist devotees with reverence and veneration.

This great image (picture below )was brought from Mrauk U in the Rakhine state during the reign of King Bodawpaya in 1784 over very difficult terrain of mountains and the Ayeyarwady River and was enshrined in Amarapura.

Once the building that housed the Buddha image caught fire, but the sculpture was saved. The sitting Buddha sculpture is made of alloy and over the centuries id become heavily gilded which now looks like its a golden statue and the gold cover is increasing day by day, in 2011 the estimated is more than a ton of gold covering the sculpture.

The crown is studded with Myanmar precious stones, gems, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, jade, diamonds, etc. donated by pious devotees and of a high value. It is common to donate precious items to religious objects not only Buddha statues but also at pagodas, just have a look at the diamond orb of the Shwedagon Pagoda.


Its a sitting Buddha sculpture

with legs folded under the body in Bhumi Phatha Mudra and resting on a pedestal, 6 ft-10 in high. Its dimensions taken in 1917 are as follows:-
1. Height 12 ft-7 in
2. The waist 9 ft-6 in

3. The arms 4 ft-11 in

4. Breadth from shoulder to shoulder 6 ft-1 in

5. Breadth at base 9 ft- 0 in
Continuous gilding with gold leaves has decidedly changed the said dimensions and is still growing every day. The gold leafs producers and seller are doing brisk business every

Mandalay Myanmar

Mahamuni legend tells

that this Burma Buddha sculpture is blessed and hallowed by Buddha himself due to the undying legend that in their memory. In the Maha Sakarit year 97, the ruler of Dinnyawaddy Rakhine (today Arakan) Kingdom Canda Thuriya. He was a devout Buddhist and ardently desired to worship the living Buddha and listen to his sermons.

He repeatedly pleaded Buddha to pay a visit to his state. During the occasion of his 26th anniversary of his reign, Buddha, accompanied by Shin Arahan and 500 disciples, came through air and alighted on the summit of Salagiri Hill near Kyauktaw town. The Rakhine King was overwhelmed with delight and he  readily and promptly attended Buddha with his Chief Queen Sandra Mala (Sandramala) with her 1600 ladies-in-waiting, and a retinue of ministers, generals and officials. They paid homage to Buddha and listened to His erudite teachings. When Buddha prepared to return to Thawuthi (Sravasti) the King supplicated Buddha, ‘My Lord, while you are away to distant lands, performing religious itinerary, we will have no opportunity to pay homage to you.

For our benefits kindly leave your image for that purpose’.

Turtle and fish pond
Turtle and fish pond

Buddha obliged

with the King’s request and immediately called upon two celestial beings, Sakra and Indra and Visva-karman, the celestial architect to mould the Image with the treasures donated by the King and his people. Buddha asked them to produce an image with the very likeness of His body and even the breath of his hair. When the Image was completed in an instant, Buddha breathed into the Image. Lo and behold! The Image was exactly like the living Buddha in minute details and measurements that all the people were awe-struck to see two Buddha sitting side by side. They could hardly differentiate between the two Lords and made out who the real living Buddha was, until now devotees believe this legend to be true.

Maha Muni VideoMandalay VideoMandalay Photo

King Bodawpaya of Amarapura happened to see the image of Mahamuni in his dreams. He sent his son, the Crown Prince, Maha Upara Raja and other two sons, Prince Saku and Prince Kama to bring Maha Muni Image to his capital. The mission was achieved, overcoming great hardships on the journey and the Image reached its destination in 1785.

During the reign of King Thibaw, a fire broke out, devastating seven-tiered wooden spire on the brick temple and devotional halls and arches of the causeways and others. However, gold weighing 5450 ticals were recovered and made into a robe that now adorned the sacred Great Image. In 1887, Minister Kinwun Mingyi U Kaung took charge of the management of the Great Image. In 1896, Kinwun Mingyi and Western architects constructed the present temple, encircling the Image building formerly built by King Bodawpaya

Old Lady Prayer
Old Lady Prayer

Prayers at the Pagoda Mandalay

bronze figures to eliminate sickness mandalay
Mahamuni bronze figures to eliminate sickness, they were looted from Ayutthaya during the war.


Face – Washing Ceremony

Maha Muni Pagoda in honor of Buddha a ritual of washing the face
Mahamuni pagoda in honor of Buddha a ritual of washing the face

It is a great honor to participate in the Burma Buddha sculpture ritual of washing the face with fragrant scented water and cleaning the teeth of the Great Image. In February 17, 1988, the current Ven. Sayadaw Buddhanta Pannya Vamsa of South Htilin monastery, Pitaka Kyaung, commenced his daily routine of washing and cleaning the face of  the Buddha at dawn.

The washing and cleaning ceremony starts at early 4.30 a.m. every day. The towels are offered by lay devotees and after the ceremony, the towels are given to the worshippers to be honored at their home shrines. Only male devotees are permitted to apply gold leaf on the IMAGE. For female worshippers, the said kind of donation is carried out by pagoda officials on their behalf