The Mahamuni (“Great Sage”) Buddha is the most revered Buddha image in Myanmar. Religious mythology recalls that the image was one of only five made during the Buddha’s lifetime and captures his exact likeness. Throughout the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms, the Mahamuni Buddha was a symbol of victory and fiercely sought after by competing kings.
It was carefully escorted to Mandalay in the 18th century by over 20,000 war slaves following the defeat of the Dhanyawaddy King by the Mandalay King. The bronze image itself is decorated in ornate gold details and layered with pure gold leaf by devotees who believe that touching the image cures all ailments.
Likewise, the pagoda is covered with over 1 ton of gold leaf and sees over 4 million local and international pilgrims annually.
Something unique: A dawn visit allows visitors to observe the morning ablutions of the Mahamuni Buddha, which entails a ceremonial morning wash with fragrant “thanaka” water and teeth brushing administered by pagoda trustee monk daily at 4am.