Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, Mingun

Scenic Walking Area · Hidden Gem · Ruin
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.
Bodawpaya 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.
By 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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  • At first glance, it looks like a large block of rock with some large cracks caused by a previous earthquake. Looking at the large cracks, enter at your own peril. There is a stairway on one side...  more »
  • This would have been the biggest Stupa but it remains unfinished. As per folk lore the city would be destroyed if it was completed  more »
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