Mahamuni Pagoda Description:
The Mahamuni Pagoda is Mandalay’s most sacred Buddhist shrine.
The 13 foot-tall gold Mahamuni (Great Sage) Buddha image enshrined in the pagoda is believed to have been crafted more than 2,000 years ago when Gautama Buddha walked the earth. Legend says Gautama Buddha visited what is today Western Myanmar after attaining enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in Northern India.
The local king was so impressed by the Buddha’s teachings that he had a statue of Gautama cast in gold for his people to worship. Buddhist tradition holds that the Mahamuni image cast in Western Myanmar is one of only five statues crafted during the Buddha’s lifetime on earth that captured the religious leader’s exact features.
A conquering Burmese army snatched the Mahamuni image along with numerous other religious relics from the Mrauk U Kingdom in 1784, enshrining it in the pagoda that shelters it today. The temple compound also houses several bronze statues (including a Shiva image and a three-headed elephant) taken from the Angkor Wat Temple complex, which the local population believes have curative powers activated by rubbing the ancient images with their ailing body parts.
The Mahamuni Pagoda is one of the most active religious sites near Mandalay. Thousands flock here daily to apply votary gold leaf to the statue in a centuries old practice. With the exception of the face, which is polished in the early morning during a ritual cleaning ceremony performed by the resident monks, the entire image is has been wrapped in a six-inch layer of gold foil.
Best Time to Visit Mahamuni Pagoda:
The best weather to explore Mandalay falls between November and May during the warm, dry season. Between June and October increasing levels of rainfall cool the area and restore the beautiful countryside after the hotter months.
How to get to Mahamuni Pagoda:
Mandalay’s most sacred Buddha image, and possibly one of the most important on the globe, is the beating heart of Buddhism in the area. The throng of devotees, chanting of the monks, and numerous merit-making rituals alone are worth a visit, and we consider it to be a must-see sight.
Mahamuni Pagoda Highlights:
The Mahamuni Pagoda is located just south of the city of Mandalay in the suburb of Amarapura. Mandalay is best reached by direct flight departing from Yangon, and once there our guests on luxury tours of Vietnam reach the pagoda using our luxury vehicle service.
Buddhist temples in Myanmar require visitors to wear clothing that covers shoulders to knees. Areas within the temple compound may also require visitors to remove their shoes before entering.