Mingun is a town where you can see the collection of the remarkable art and interesting history of King BodawPhaya Regime ( 1782-1819 ). In the former time, Mingun is a village called Min. Later, King BodawPhaya renamed as Mingun that means the place where the King and his aristocrats live. It is located 11 km up the Irrawaddy River on the west bank and one and half hour drive from Mandalay ancient city. If we say Mingun, people know it with the great four attractions ( called Gyi Lay Gyi in Burmese language ) together. They are Pahtodawgyi( the unfinished Pagoda ), the Mingun Bell, the ChintheGyi ( two house-sized brick and stucco lions ) and the Pond called Kyethtaung. Besides these, Hsinphyu Pagoda exists as one of the main attractions, making the site more popular and colorful.
Pahtodawgyi( the Massive unfinished Pagoda )
King BodawPhaya found the great four attractions in Mungun, including Pahtodawgyi. The king wanted to build a great and grand pagoda, by enshrining the Buddha tooth relic. The purpose is to show his great honor so that he started to build the Pahtodawgyi pagoda, intending to build up to 500 feet high. Even 10 years later, it came to finish to 165 feet only. Many labor forces all over the country are being used to build it and they all are very tired. That is why the king is back down to stop building the pagoda when it reached to 198 feet. So, it remained unfinished but still too big, making the travelers amazed. If it was completed,it’s massiveness would be very big and would be the highest one in Myanmar. And, now,it is a little damaged by the Amarapura earthquarke.
Mingun Bell is one of the largest functioning bell in the world. It is molded in 1790, locating near Pahtodawgyi Pagoda. Its weight is 55555 viss( 90 tons ). The archaeologists said that it produces the characterful sound when it rings because it is a kind of alloy bell, being molded by mixing bronze, gold, silver and other metals. The bell dropped down and 5 viss had been chipped out of the bell by the earthquake in 1839. So, it lay on the ground for 60 years. But, in colonial era, the Scottish officer ordered to hang the bell on the iron pillars, substituting the wooden pillars, according to the request of the local people.
ChintheGyi ( the two house-sized brick-and-stucco lions )
The King built these two house-sized brick-and-stucco lions by the river in front of the PhahtodawGyi. Each is 95 feet high respectively. The king also built a stairway to the lions from the pagoda. But, now, it has been totally destroyed by the Sagaing earthquake at several times. Now, the lions have not the heads and forelegs but only the hind-legs remain.
Kyettaung Pond is also one of the four attractions built by King Bodawphaya. It is situated at Kyethtaung village on the Sagaing-Mingun road. Although it is built for getting drinking water, it was not very useful because of the existence of the Irrawaddy River near the Pond.
The remarkable architecture of the pagoda is the main thing that attracts the visitors. While the king was building the great four in Mingun, his aristocrats also built the pagodas and temples around the Pahtodawgyi. At the time, the king’s grandson called Sagaing Prince also found the Hsinphyu Image in the damaged temple. So, he built a pagoda in the place of temple and keep the Hsinphyu image inside. The pagoda is named as Hsinphyu Pagoda after the image. But,it occupies three names. They are Hsinphyu Pagoda, Sinphyume Pagoda and Mya Thein Tan Pagoda. While the prince was building the pagoda, his wife called Sinphyume who was the dearest granddaughter of King Bodawphaya, was dead in childbirth. So, the prince named it as Sinphyume Pagoda to the memory of his wife. And, people aslo said that the 1 lakh valued emerald necklace of the princess Sinphyume is enshrined in the Pagoda. That is why we call Mya Thein Tan Pagoda ( The 1 lakh valued emerald means Mya Thein Tan in Burmese language ). The pagoda is modeled, imagining theSulamani Pagoda on Mount Meru in Taradeinthar–the abode of 33 Gods.( Buddhist people in Myanmar believe that there are sixabodes of Gods in the heaven and Taradeinthar is one of them). The pagoda’s design is very different from the norms of other Burmese pagoda. The lower parts of the pagoda represent the mountains. Seven concentric terraces represent the seven mountain ranges, going up to the Mount Meru according to Buddhist mythology.The pagoda was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1836 and was restored by King Mindon in 1874.