Mingun

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Mingun is located about 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the opposite bank of the AyeYarWaddy (Irrawaddy) river. There are many interesting ruins in this friendly village. King Boadawpaya had his temporary residence on an island in the AyeYarWaddy (Irrawaddy) river when he superintended for many years the building of the Mingun pagoda on the west bank. The pagoda, if completed, would have risen to a height of 500 feet, the largest one in the whole country. It was left unfinished when Bodawpaya died in 1819.

As it stands, it is the biggest brick pile in the world, the bottom terrace being a square of 450 feet and the basement on which the domical superstructure would rest rising to 162 feet. Each side of the huge cubical mass is hollowed out to accommodate a small shrine with a slightly projecting arch. The diminishing terraces above the obelisk have small square panels which were intended to receive glazed plaques of green, brown, and yellow colors bearing in relief scenes from the five Buddhist Councils. The decoration of these plaques could not be effected when the construction was abandoned so they are now collected and preserved in an appropriate building nearby.

This unfinished pagaoda had suffered damage due to the devastating earthquake of 1838. About half a mile to the south is a samll model the Pondawpaya, 15 feet high, designed as a working model for the huge edifice. As appendages to the pagoda, Bodawpaya had cast the largest bronze bell in Myanmar and also constructed a pair of colossal lions in brick and mortar. The bell is 12 feet high, has a diameter of 16 feet 3 inches at the lip and weighs 90 tons. No wonder it hangs as the largest ringing bell in the world. The statues of lions are now in a very dilapidated condition as they could not withstand several tremors of the earth since the erection.