The Mahamuni Pagoda is an extremely interesting complex to visit when in Mandalay. It is only 3km south of the city centre so very easy to get to. The Mahamuni Pagoda is open daily from 6am-8pm, and entrance fee is US$4 for foreigners not accompanied by a tour package, although I cannot recall having to pay it.
It is the holiest pilgrimage site in Mandalay and the second holiest in Myanmar after the Golden Rock. The Mahamuni Pagoda was built in 1784. The principal image within the pagoda is the Mahamuni Buddha said to have been made during the life of Guatama Buddha when he was in the northern Rakhine region of current Myanmar. It is the object of intense devotion to pilgrims from all over the country. The image was brought to Mandalay in 1784 and placed within a specially built Pagoda.
The statue is erected on a 1.84 meters (6.0 ft) high pedestal and reaches a height of 3.8 meters. Countless thousands of devotees, only men are allowed, apply layers of gold leaf on the image; so much so that the image has been completely covered with a very thick layer of gold and its original shape is now distorted.
In a courtyard of the Pagoda are six Khmer bronze statues – three lions, a three-headed elephant and two warriors – that originally stood as guardians of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple.
While we were there a monk approached us and escorted us around until at one quite corner he asked for $40 to buy the golden book. Locals seemed to know he was a fake but did not know how to tell us. We thanked him for the tour and gave him a smaller donation for his time.
This pagodas is quite impressive, this big golden Budda, gives a warm light, that wrap everithing around! The place is really alive, and you can also buy a longyi or become friend of a monks!
Or just watch people and monks praying!
Spend a nice evening in Mandalay by watching the Moustache brother describing their life, their country and ....
Dress Code: Kool
When in Mandalay, go to see the Moustache Brothers traditional dance show. Lu Maw is the only free Moustache Brother at the moment. His brother's are in jail for embarassing the government (you know, jokes like 'we used to call it theft, but now it's called cooperative development'). The shows are great, only 3000kyat for as many as turn up on any night. Trishaw drivers can find Lu Maw's house-just ask a few. The whole extended family-wife, sister-in-law, sister-perform for you in a small room at the back of the house, with a squeaky tape recorder on low volume, and powered by an array of car batteries, whilst Lu Maw scuttles round ones feet, spraying insect repellent, and giving commentary.
Fondest memory: The sun glinting off gilded pagoda spires, the foot rowing fisherman, silouetted against the mountains surrounding Inle Lake, the shadows lenthening across the plain of Bagan as the sun sets, and most of all the most genuinely frienly and generous people possible