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The holiest temple in Mandalay: The Mahamuni Paya (Great Sage Pagoda), originally built in 1784 and almost completely rebuilt after a fire in 1884, houses the Mahamuni image, which dates from as early as the first century AD. The four-meter bronze image of the seated Buddha has been covered by application of gold leaf and over time has more than doubled its original weight. Only the original face can now be seen. Believers feel that one can benefit from applying gold to that area of this particular Buddha where one wishes to maintain good health. In this pagada, woman are not allowed to touch the buddha and have to sit in a separate place. Left: Comparatively recent reconstruction of the pagoda. Right: The shrine.
This wooden structure, which provides an example of traditional Burmese wooden monasteries, was once part of the Royal Palace in Mandalay, where it served as apartments for King Mindon and his chief wife. After his death his son, King Thibaw Min, had it dismantled and reassembled here in 1880 as a monastery. Carved inside and out, it was once heavily gilded where is was not painted red-- one can see traces of both, though not of the glass mosaics, which seem to have completely disappeared.
Left: Shwenadaw Kyaung. Right: Your webmaster before the Pagoda.
Left: One of the young monks. Middle: A view from one of the doorways, showing the carvings.
Left: The raised deck on the left side of the structure. Middle: Some of the stone wall around the wooden building. Right: The walls surrounding the old Royal Palace complex, which the British destroyed during the last of the Anglo-Burmese wars.
Last modified 17 April 2001