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Reclining Buddha at Chauk-tat-gyi pagoda
Just a short distance away from the city's main tourist attraction, the great Shwedagon pagoda, is the Chauk Htat Gyi pagoda where you can see the third largest reclining Buddha in Myanmar (indeed, the world). This remarkable statue is housed in a large metal-roof shed and is highly revered by the local people, the majority of whom are Buddhists. Although it is not as well known as the fabled Shwedagon, it is fast becoming a tourist draw. I have been there several times, my last visit being two years ago.
The very impressive 65 meters/214 feet long image is wearing a golden robe; the right arm of the Buddha is supporting the back of the head. It is decorated with very expressive colors, white face, red lips, blue eye shadow, golden robe and red finger nails. A prominent part of the image are the soles of his feet containing 108 segments in red and gold colors that show symbols representing the 108 'lakshanas' or auspicious characteristics of the Buddha. Its height of 16 meters or 53 feet also makes it more striking.
The original image was built in 1907 by a distinguised Burmese gentleman by the name of Hpo Thar (later knighted by the British Crown), but after many decades of neglect and disrepair during the Independence movement and War years, it was demolished and rebuilt to this structure in 1966. The heavy cost of the restoration was entirely borne by the devout population. Even today, the entire cost of maintenance is met from people's donations. The names of the contributors, both local and foreign, are inscribed on the beams of the building.
The roof of the big shed is made from corrugated iron sheets of six layers. Hence, the pagoda is generally referred to as the six-tiered (in Burmese, 'Chauk Htat Gyi') pagoda. The monasteries in the vicinity of this pagoda accommodate over six hundred monks who study Buddhist Scriptures from the senior and qualified monks.
There are several gift shops in the compound where you can pick up souvenirs such as postcards, Buddha statuettes, amulets, mini-gongs w/mallets (I have a set at home), etc. Oh, as in most small stores in Myanmar, you are allowed to bargain too! Admission to this pagoda has always been free, but you might be asked to give a donation for the upkeep of the place. My last time there was two years ago, and it was still free. However with the rapid flow of travelers into the country presently, I wouldn't be surprised if they charge entrance fees now.
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
A picture of me with the Buddha statue in the back showing the scale and perspective of the statue. There are some beams with the name of donors and the amount of their contribution surrounding the statue.
Symbolic signs on the soles of the Buddha.
The soles of the statue are covered by glass mosaics representing the 108 special characteristics of the Lord Buddha. There´s also a chart with the descripition of the signs represented on the it as foreseen by the royal astrologers.
Housed under a big open sheet metal roof construction, this 72 mts long Buddha statue is the largest in the country and one of the biggest in the world. The statue was built in 1966 over the remains of the original statue destroyed by time and nature elements. The statue is resting on his right side, toes together in the Parinibbana position.
Massive is the only word.
Not too far Northeast of the Shwedagon (see seperate tip) is the Chaukhtatgyi Paya which contains quite simply the largest Buddha image I have ever seen. The people in the foreground of the photo will give you some impression of scale. Having said that, you really need to stand beside the image to properly appreciate how huge it is. I'm told there is an even larger image in Bago, but I didn't get to see it.
On the soles of the Buddha's feet are 108 symbols which all have relevance to his life and teachings. A display nearby explains what they all are.
One thing I found particularly interesting here was the donations lists. It is the practice in Buddhist temples that people who donate large sums have their names displayed. I saw names from Holland, Japan, Korea, the USA and numerous other places.
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
Pic 1 - Tip: There is a wooden platform at the east side of this temple to take a full picture of the reclining buddha. Free somemore.
Pic 2 - There are 108 marks on the buddha foot. Each symbolise something. An explanation board is just beside.
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