Boasting many pagodas and monasteries. Mandalay is home to the stunning Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image. Maha Myat Muni Pagoda is located southwest of the cultural city, Mandalay. The 4m high seated Maha Myat Muni Pagoda Image, cast in bronze and weighting impressive 6.5 tons has a crown that is decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. It is never complete visiting Mandalay without Maha Myat Muni Pagoda and said it to be as the “Face of Mandalay”.
History and Background
According to legend, this image’s story came during the ancient kingdoms of Myanmar. To spread Buddhism, the Gautama Buddha visited Dhanyawadi (the ancient capital city of Rakhine State), and then welcomed and paid homage by Rakhine King, Princess, and local people. They deeply immersed in the Buddha’s teachings and so, the King requested to leave his image for people to worship. For this, Buddha molded a lifelike Image for the devotion of all the people. After looking the own lifelike Image, Buddha imbued the image with his spiritual essence for about 7 times and stated that this image would last for 5000 years instead of him. And later, the crown prince of the Konbaung Dynasty, Thato Minsaw conquered Rakhine and brought the Image to Amarapura and then moved it to Mandalay. Nowadays, many local people and foreigners believed it as one of the most famous pilgrimage sites of Mandalay.
Why? Daily RitualsThe early morning ritual of washing the face and brushing the teeth of Buddha’s image draws a daily crowd of devotees. This ritual activity starts every morning at 4 am or 4:30 am and performed by a senior Buddhist monk, assisted by men who believe in Buddhist’s teachings (Dhamma) dressing white in both shirt and longyi. With the ringing of Gongs, the senior monk starts the formal action of washing and cleaning by using the fresh towels and large toothbrush offered by devotees. Many people come to this pagoda to take the used towels and scented water for keeping them in their respective home shrines. Food, fruit, flower and other offerings are put together in a tray and donated by devotees to the Buddha Image and this is a regular session of one-day activity in Maha Myat Muni Paya. Another special donation thing is allowed; gold leaves donation to the Great Image. Gold leaves are applied to the body of the Image only by male devotees.
When it open?The pagoda usually opens from 4:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Sunday. We recommend you to go at 4:00 am for the new experience of morning ritual worship.
Maha Myat Muni Annual Pagoda Festival is celebrated for 2 days in February, devotees light bonfires and cook huge pans of sticky rice with ginger, coconut, and sesame to offer to monks. Besides the daily ritual, you will find various forms of entertainment programs like U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe dance during the festival.