Pahtodawgyi Pagoda Description:
From the western banks of the Irrawaddy River, the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda looks like a rugged hill rising sharply from a thick copse of trees.
Pahtodawgyi Pagoda was started in 1790 but never finished. King Bodawpaya ruled the region from 1782 to 1819, and was known as an eccentric ruler with extravagant tastes. Having crushed the western Kingdom of Mrauk U, King Bodawpaya focused his newly found wealth and man power (in the form of some 20,000 slaves taken as captives from the sacked kingdom) on building a series of massive structures across the Irrawaddy River from Amarapura.
Had it been completed, the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda would have been the world’s tallest pagoda at a height of almost 500 feet, but only the first third of the structure was finished before the king’s death.
Local legends say that King Bodawpaya’s monumental construction project was beginning to take a heavy toll on the local population as well as the thousands of slaves working on the structure. Hoping to prey on the ruler’s superstitious nature, an astrologer concocted a false prophecy predicting the king would die at the completion of the monument. Hoping to avoid fulfilment of the astrologer’s divinations, King Bodawpaya called a halt to the construction project.
King Bodawpaya had a 90 ton bronze bell cast to match the massive stupa’s grandeur. The Mingun Bell is thought to be one of the world’s largest working bells, and the casting process took almost two full years to complete. The bell is hung in a small shrine near the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda.
Best Time to Visit Pahtodawgyi Pagoda:
The best weather in Central Myanmar is during the dry season that runs from November to May. Starting in June and running through October, the region is increasingly likely to see showers in the mornings and early afternoons, but the extra moisture helps revive the area’s forests after the dry season.
How to get to Pahtodawgyi Pagoda:
The Pahtodawgyi Pagoda lies just across the Irrawaddy River from the town of Mandalay. Once reaching Mandalay via direct flight Yangon, guests on our luxury tours of Myanmar can explore the western bank of the river and the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda by taking a quick ferry across the water.
Pahtodawgyi Pagoda Highlights:
Though an earthquake in the late 19th century left the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda in particularly poor shape, it’s still a striking sight well worth the trip across the river. The top can be reached by a series of steep steps, and the monument’s roof offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
Pahtodawgyi Pagoda is an active Buddhist monastery and shrine despite its structural damage. Guests should dress in conservative clothes that cover shoulders, arms, and knees in keeping with Buddhist traditions of modesty.