Mingun Temple – Relic of a Glorious Dynasty

13 Jun 2019 by Admin

A Glimpse of Mingun Temple

mingun temple
The Mighty Appearance Of Mingun Temple

Locating in the town of Mingun in Sagaing Region, about 10 kilometers northwest of Mandalay, Mingun Temple (also known as Mingun Pahtodawgyi or Mingun Paya) is a spectacular unfinished construction on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. The ruin that we see today has the height of 50 meters, and that is just one - third of the intended height for the complete building.

If Mingun temple was finished, it would have been the biggest stupa in Myanmar, and probably in the world.To have an idea of the appearance of the temple if it had been completed, you should look at the nearby Pondaw temple, the 15 - feet miniature of Mingun Temple.  

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Pondaw Temple - The Miniature Of Mingun Temple

In the front of Mingun Temple, the side looking over Irrawaddy River, stand the remains of two giant Chinth lions (the mythical lion of Myanmar) with the height of 29 meters serving as guardians of the Temple. Mingun Temple was designed with four entrances, but now you can only access via the entrance facing Irrawaddy River. All the entrances are decorated sophisticatedly and elegantly with artistic carvings and reliefs. 

Inside the Temple, there is a small shrine with Buddha image where people can come to worship and pray. You can also climb to the top of Mingun Temple using a stairway on the right of the building. From there, you can capture breath - taking sceneries of nearby sites, including Hsinbyume Pagoda, other temples and pagodas, the Irrawaddy River and mountains at the back of the temple. However, the access to the stairway has been limited since 2012 after an earthquake damaging the temple.

History of Mingun Temple

The construction of Mingun Temple was in accordance with the order by King Bodawpaya in the 18th century. It was all started when a Chinese offered a gift, which is a sacred Buddha tooth relic, to the King. King Bodawpaya thought that such relic should be preserved in the biggest and most gorgeous temple, so he ordered the construction of Mingun Temple with the intended height of 152 meters. 

mingun paya
What We See Is Just One - third Of The Intended Structure

Mingun temple had its construction started in 1790. In 1797, after reaching one-third of the intended height, the construction was suspended. There are several theories about the reasons for the suspension of the structure, but the most famous one is a prophecy foretelling the perishing of the dynasty. 

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The Remainings Of The Giant Chinthe Lions

During the construction of Mingun Temple, the economy of the country suffered. A substantial amount of resources and human labor was mobilized for the work. The construction of the massive structure induced huge burden for the country and it started to raise discontent among people.

Taking advantage of the King’s superstition, a prophecy was forged with the purpose of stopping the project. It states that “Once the Temple is finished, the kingdom will fall”. Being concerned about the maintaining of the kingdom, the king slowed down the progress of the temple. When he passed away, the construction of the temple was halted forever.

Mingun Bell 

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The Giant Mingun Bell

When King Bodawpaya was forced to slow down the construction of Mingun Temple, he still believed that one day the work would be completed. Thus, he ordered casting a gigantic bell to put on the top of the stupa.

The bell is now placed nearby Mingun Temple, in a Zayat, an elaborate pavilion in Myanmar style with many roofing tiers. The bell was cast in two years, from 1808 to 1810, with the height of 3.66 meters and diameter of 5 meters. On the body of the bell, the number 55555 is inscribed representing the weight in viss, a unit of measurement used in Myanmar, which is about 90 tons. Mingun Bell is the second largest working bell in the world.

How to Access Mingun Temple? 

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Boats Taking Tourists To The Temple

Because Mingun Temple is located on the West bank of Irrawaddy River, the easiest way to get there is by traveling on a boat for 1 hour from Mandalay. From the pier, you can choose to walk to the temple or hire an ox cart to go there.

Call us today to secure a cabin on our Luxury Myanmar River Cruises taking you Mingun and other appealing destinations along the mighty Irrawaddy River.

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