Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Myanmar discovery circuit - Day 3 (morning cont.) - Mandalay, the Mahamuni Pagoda ensemble - The 14th of November 2015


We walked into the most revered Buddhist shrine in Mandalay, the Mahamuni Pagoda (second to the Shwedagon). We had to walk along a corridor profusely decorated with frescoes, some of which were faded away and lined up with handicraft shops. 

I sighted a young girl sitting on a stool outside one of those shops and decided to hand her out some of the small gifts I had brought, which made her subtly smile back at me.

We then wandered around the yard whose surrounding shrines were undergoing refurbishing work before we actually approached the central chamber where the magnificent Buddha's sculpture stood. It is the eponymous "Mahamuni" or "Great Sage which Bodawpaya's troops took during their pilgrimage of the city in 1784. Revered by pilgrims from all over the world, it is believed to have been one of the only five likenesses of the Enlightened one. 



The statue probably cast in 146 AD, five or more centuries after the Buddha's death, rises to 3,8 metres in height and is covered in pounded gold. The fact that so many gold leaves have been pressed on it as offerings has led to a thick carapace-like around its back though the face of the Buddha still looked gleaming. Women were not allowed in the chamber, this being the reason as to why I had to get the Buddha's image photographed from outside its chamber.

 (To be continued)

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