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Mahazedi Pagoda
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Good Time To Visit: The Whole Year
Visited: 3013 Time

      In the Western part of Bago is the Mahazedi, which translates to “Great Stupa”, a pagoda built to enshrine a Buddha tooth relic.
      The Mahazedi was built in 1560 by King Bayinnaung of the Taungoo dynasty. Bayinnaung, one of Burma’s greatest Kings ordered construction of the pagoda to enshrine a sacred tooth relic of the Buddha which he obtained from Sri Lanka.
      Although the relic later turned out to be a fake with the real tooth relic of Kandy still in Sri Lanka, the relic was enshrined in the pagoda in 1576. In the early 17th century the tooth was moved to the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda inSagaing, where it remains to the current day.

Destruction and restoration

      The Mahazedi pagoda was destroyed in 1757 during the Mon revolt against the Burmese, who subsequently destroyed most of Bago. The Mahazedi was rebuilt and largely destroyed again in the 1930 earthquake. It took until the early 1980’s until the restoration was completed.
      The entrance to the temple grounds is guarded by two white elephant statues. In front of the pagoda is a pavilion with a seven tiered Pyatthat roof. The pavilion houses three seated Buddha images.

Pyramid base topped with a golden stupa

      The pagoda consists of a large pyramidal shaped base and a golden stupa on top. Steep stairways on all four sides lead to the top of the base. At the bottom of the stairs are two small Chinthe’s, higher up on the balustrades are mythological Naga serpents, guarding the pagoda. Behind the pagoda is a temple that reminds of the Ananda pagoda in Bagan. The reddish brown structure is topped with a Ananda style gilded sikhara, a tower like spire. The temple’s interior is painted in gold colors, rows of golden pillars support the roof. At the center is a shrine with four large, golden Buddha images standing back to back.
      An area called “Victory ground of King Bayinnaung” displays a miniature version of the Mahazedi Pagoda, as well as a white elephant and soldiers.

A few hundred meters before the entrance to the temple grounds is a small stupa built atop a large Hintha bird, the symbol of Bago.

How to get to Mahazedi Pagoda

      The pagoda is found in the West part of Bago, just West of the Shwethalyaung Buddha. The most comfortable way to get there is by private taxi that can be booked through hotel or travel agent. A trishaw from the downtown area would cost around 1,000 Kyat. Hiring one for the day at around 6,000 Kyat enables you to see a number of sites around town.

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