Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, Mingun

#4 of 6 in Historic Sites in Sagaing Region
The Mingun Pahtodawgyi is an incomplete monument stupa in Mingun, approximately northwest of Mandalay in Sagaing Region in central Myanmar (formerly Burma). The ruins are the remains of a massive construction project begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790 which was intentionally left unfinished. The pahtodawgyi is seen as the physical manifestations of the well known eccentricities of Bodawpaya. He set up an observation post on an island off Mingun to personally supervise the construction of the temple.IncompletionBodawpaya used thousands of prisoners of war from his expansionist campaigns and slaves working on the construction of the stupa. The construction was also seen as having a heavy toll over the people and the state, thus a prophecy was allegedly created, to stop the project. The approach in conveying the dissatisfaction was allegedly to utilize the King's deep superstition. The prophecy went "as soon as the building of the pagoda was over, the country would also be gone".A variation states that king would die once the project was completed. Thus, construction was slowed down to prevent the prophecy's realisation and when the king died, the project was completely halted.A model pagoda nearby, typical of many large pagoda projects like the Shwedagon Pagoda and Thatbyinnyu Temple, offers a small scale of what would have been a tall temple.However, it holds the record of being the largest pile of bricks in the world.Current conditionBy the time the construction project was abandoned, the pagoda had attained a height of 50 meters, one third of the intended height. An earthquake on 23 March 1839 caused huge cracks to appear on the face of the remaining structure. The temple serves more as an attraction than a religious site. However, a small shrine with a Buddha image still serves its purpose as a place of worship and meditation. Pondaw paya or a working model of the stupa can be seen nearby.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
44 reviews
  • August 8, 2017
    Very impressive, is a pagoda that was never finished, but would have been the largest in the country. You can upload, barefoot, up to the first part, since above all it is forbidden for safety. It leaves you speechless its magnitude, and can be seen from the Ayeyarwaddy River. Near the pagoda is the 2nd largest Bell of the world, where you can see and touch in the Burmese style.
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  • August 7, 2017
    The giant base, 50 meters high, of what was to be a pagoda. It was never finished and weather and earthquakes have badly damaged it. But it is very impressive and one can only imagine what the complet...  more »
  • July 16, 2017
    It was still only a few months since the devastating earthquakes in Myanmar and this had make this unfinished brick pagoda even more unstable so we were not permitted inside or to climb up it as you o...  more »

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Where to stay in Mingun

Mingun itself has no accommodations, although the city of Mandalay lies just an hour's boat ride to the south along the Ayeyarwady River. A very popular excursion for visitors to Mandalay, boats run from the jetty each morning bound for Mingun. Mandalay's accommodations are a varied bunch, with some particularly upmarket and refined options seated alongside altogether more backpacker-friendly fare, such as hostels and simple guesthouses.
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