The Mahamuni Pagoda or Mahamuni Buddha temple is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma.
The Mahamuni Buddha image
The Mahamuni image is enshrined in a small chamber topped with a seven tiered Pyatthat Burmese style roof.
The Mahamuni, which means the Great Image is seated on a very ornate 1.80 meters high pedestal. The image in the Bhumisparsha Mudra posture is 3.80 meters high and weighs about 6½ tons.
To pay respect to the Buddha image, male devotees apply gold leaf to the image, which is called shwe cha in Burmese. As a result, the Mahamuni Buddha is covered with a thick layer of gold leaf of about 15 centimeters, which has distorted the shape of the image. Several old photos of the image in the temple show the difference in the outline of the image between about a century ago and now.
The Mahamuni Buddha image is wearing a crown set with precious stones like diamonds and rubies.
How to get to the Mahamuni Pagoda
The Mahamuni Pagoda is located between 82nd street and 84th street. Best way to get there is by private taxi or rickshaw, which will cost around US$ 2 for a rickshaw and US$ 4 for a taxi from downtown Mandalay.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The temple grounds are open daily from 6 am until 8 pm. Entrance fee is US$ 4 per person. Since this is the most highly revered Buddha image in the country, the temple grounds can get busy, especially on Buddhist holidays. During the Mahamuni Pagoda festival held annually in February thousands of Buddhist devotees come to pay their respect to the Mahamuni Buddha.