The Mahamuni Pagoda or Mahamuni Buddha temple is one of the prime Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma. The temple houses the Mahamuni Buddha image, the most venerated Buddha image in the country. The King Bodawpaya of the Konbaung dynasty after cracked down and conquered Arakan in Mrauk U invasion, fetching the Mahamuni image to his Kingdom decided to build the pagoda to enshrine the Image.
The Image which was made according to Bhumisparsha Mudra posture of 3.80 meters high and about 6 tons weight, is situated on a very ornate pedestal. To show respect to the Buddha image, male devotees and pilgrims use gold leaf to apply the image. Over times, the Mahamuni Buddha is covered with a thick layer of gold, estimated about 15 centimeters. This layer as a result has distorted the shape of the image. Several old photos of the image taken in the past shown in the temple clearly tell the difference in the outline of the image between the two periods of time. The Mahamuni Buddha image is worn with a crown which is set with precious gems like diamonds and rubies.
Every morning at 4 am, the senior monks practice the ritual of washing the face and teeth of the Mahamuni Image. This performance is witnessed by a great number of Buddhist devotees, with the men upfront, the women behind a rope. There is a compulsory rule that women must not come close to the Image nor touch it.
There is Mahamuni museum on the temple ground which teaches us about the history of Buddhism. The information related to the life of the Buddha such as his birth place in Nepal, where he obtained his enlightenment and where he passed into final Nirvana, are displayed.
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