Mahamuni Pagoda

If you’ve been to the gold pounders district and experienced how thin gold can be flatted you’ll will probably have a hard time to believe what you see in this pagoda.

The main attraction is the central Buddha statue, which is fitted in the centre of the pagoda. A long carpet clad passage in front of the Buddhas vision, in this passage way you will find hundreds of worshippers kneeling and praying.

A several cm thick layer of gold leaf covers the Buddha

A several cm thick layer of gold leaf covers the Buddha

The pagoda itself is very much like the most pagodas, entrances in the 4 corners of the world, along entrance you find stalls were you can buy art-work, drinks, food etc.

The central Buddha statue is made of blank polished brass , to keep the brass sparkling the monks wash it every morning. However nowadays it’s only the face that is washed, because all other parts of the statue is covered by leaf gold. Over the years layer up on layer of leaf gold have been applied to the statue, so now the body is covered by a thick uneven layer of gold – maybe up to 10 cm thick – and the worshippers keep adding layers.

The statue is kept behind a fence to control access through a single gate. Only men are allowed through the gate and the guards keep a strict rule of dressing, only gentlemen with long pants are allowed in, shorts that reaches just below the knee is not enough, pants should cover the ankles.

Outside the pagoda itself you find an annex that hold a series of Khmer bronze statues are kept. The statues was part of a larger collection of statues that was concurred as a war loot, but the majority is no longer statues. The Burmese king Thibaw melted a portion of the statues to make cannons. The statues are said to have healing powers, and if you need to achieve the healing powers you should touch the part of the statue were you need aid. So noses, heads and abdomen on the statues are freshly blank polished while other parts are brown and unpolished.

Especially the noses, joints and stomachs are shining

Especially the noses, joints and stomachs are shining

When I visited the Mahamuni pagoda I arrived in a taxi, the driver encouraged me to leave my shoes in the car, and as I knew I would have to leave them anyway I thought it was a good idea. So bare footed I went in. At the entrance I wanted to change the lens on my camera and while doing so I noticed a small yellow and black stribed snake that was trying to crawl up the wall inside a corner. I had just change to a short lens, but I tried to get a shot of the snake. Then I just wanted to leave it alone and visit the temple. But a young Burmese boy had found interest in the snake, he took a long stick a gave the snake a whack. Unfortunately the snake did not see that is was the boy providing the whack as he was farther away than I. As I was the closest individual the snake took on to revenge the blow on me, it rapidly began to twist against my bare feet and as I likely rapidly backed off it progressed through the entrance. Luckily it got tired of the chase after 20-30 meters. I have no idea whether the snake was dangerous or not, but I didn’t wan’t take the chance so I ran fast backwards.

The snake a few moments before it were hit by the boy

The snake a few moments before it were hit by the boy

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