Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 5, 2012


Then we returned to Mandalay to visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, built by King Bodawpaya in 1784.

The Buddha’s image here is in sitting posture, and is more than 12-1/2 feet tall. Very likely untrue, people here believe that it was cast in the life-time of the Gautama Buddha, and that the Buddha embraced it 7 times thereby bringing it to life! Therefore, devout Buddhists hold it to be alive. Therefore, this pagoda is considered to be the area’s holiest.

After the early morning image’s face-washing ceremony, male devotees go to the upper level to put gold leaf on the image. On account of repeated layers of gold leaf, over the years, the image is about six inches fatter than it originally was.

Women are restricted to the lower level. They sit at a distance from the idol and away from males.

The pagoda has gilded hallways and railings.

A wing of the temple complex houses statutes from Angkor Wat. They were reportedly looted from there by the Thais. Later they were brought here, when Myanmar conquered and occupied Thailand for some time. We saw devotees rubbing parts of these statutes, hoping that the same
parts of their own bodies will be healed or otherwise blessed. Also, they leave money on them.

In the courtyard there was a ceremonial procession. Family members dressed in traditional dresses, and bearing gifts had gathered to honor two boys, who were getting ready for initiation
into a monastery. According to Mr. Suday, families were required to feed as many as 500 people before launching the initiation ceremony for their children.

Some children are sent to monasteries for brief periods of time, others stay there for years, if not for the rest of their life.

The pagoda has its own shopping arcade.

After lunch at an Indian restaurant, we checked into Sedona Hotel. Reception girls were nice. But other services left much to be desired.

The hotel is located right across the moat around the Royal Palace, which is now closed to the public and is being used by the military.

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