It’s located across majestic Ayeyarwaddy River, 12 km north of Mandalay. Today, Mingun is famous for the world second largest ringing bell of 90 tons in weight and unfinished pagoda. It’s accessible by boat, via Gawwein Jetty across the river and takes an hour for up river and 40 minutes for down river. A boat trip to Mingun is pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see.
The first look from a distance on the river, its appearance is that of a large mound, nothing more. But as you go closer, you will amaze the gigantic size of King Bodawpaya’s Mingun pagoda, which is also dubbed as “the world’s biggest pile of bricks”. This pagoda was built between 1790 and 1800 and the construction work halted due to a prophecy: “if this pagoda would finish, the great country will be ruined”; although there had been many other reasons for the king to stop it underway. The one third of intended height, 50m and the width of 72m each side with deep cracks caused by 1838 earthquake is still considered as sacred and visitors are requested to remove the foot wares before going up the partial rubble top providing stunning views of the river and the surround plains. The two huge but collapsed guardian lions stand facing the river as the king intended the eastside as the main entrance. The miniature pagoda, scale down to 5-m can be seen in the south of Mingun paya and said to be the king’s working model.
The pride of Mingun, if not for Mandalay or even for the entire nation, as it is always refers as “The World Largest (Intact) Bell”! King Bodawpaya had it casted in 1808 on an island of Ayarwaddy River to dedicate to his gigantic pagoda. Having 90-tonnes, it is claimed to be the largest hung, un-cracked, working bell in the world, although there is a bell in Moscow, which is three times larger than Mingun bell but cracked. Originally, it was supported with huge teak posts but now replaced with the steels frames after the 1838 earthquake.
This pagoda reflects an imaginary architecture of Buddhist heaven (Tavastistamasa). King Bagyidaw built this striking pagoda in 1816 as a remembrance of his favorite and most beloved queen Sinbyume, who died shortly after delivering a child. The king had to sell out his 100,000ks worth emerald stone so the name of the pagoda (Mya = Emerald, Theindan = 100000) or it is also called as Sinbyume, the name of the queen.