Kuthodaw Pagoda is a Buddhist shrine located in the city of Mandalay, Myanmar. The pagoda is also famous for its other name 'the world's largest book' as it has around 700 slab that are representing each page of the book. The slab itself has texts from the Sutta Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka, and Abhidhamma Pitaka that made one combination as the Tripitaka teaching in Buddha faith. The tour inside Kuthodaw Pagoda will also bring you to the center pagoda called Gilded Pagoda.
A Tour inside Kuthodaw Pagoda
1. The World's Largest Book
The tour inside Kuthodaw Pagoda will bring you to a very philosopical place. Kuthodaw Pagoda is also famous as 'The World Largest Books'. Inside Kuthodaw Pagoda, you will see so many shrines. This shrines represent each page of the books. There are 729 slabs. The slabs which are called as the Dhamma ceti are equipped with texts of the Sutta Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka, and Abhidhamma Pitaka. The three parts make up the Tripitaka teachings of the Buddha faith. The slabs were first built in 1860 and it took eight years to finish all the shrines. Each of the slab is around 150 cm of heights and 107 cm of wide.
2. Gilded Pagoda
Come to the center of the Kuthodaw Pagoda, you will see the tallest pagoda called Gilded Pagoda. The pagoda was built in 1859 resembled the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. The Gilded Pagoda is surrounded with four Chinthe, or mythological lions that guards the pagoda. The topped of the pagoda is equipped with a large multi tiered hti, an ornamental spire shaped like an umbrella. On the top of the pole in the pagoda, there is a Galon or usually known as Garuda bird in the Buddhist and Hindu mythology grabbing the naga serpent. Next to the pagoda, there is a small open pavillion as the house of a Buddha picture in the posture of 'calling the Earth to witness'.
3. Desecration and Restoration
Kuthodaw Pagoda was seize by the British army in Mandalay on 1885. The British army vandalized the pagoda, took the gold and any othe jewels from the main building. After the British left, the pagoda had a restoration and started to renovate some shrines that were affected. The pagoda was regilded and the letters on the slabs were changed into black ink instead of gold ink. There are plenty of things that were affected by the British invasion like htior umbrella or crown.
How to Get Tickets?
If you are planning to go to Kuthodaw Pagoda, it is recommended to get in the line as early as you can because the line in the ticket booth may be very crowded. The entrance ticket cost around 23 thousand kyat or around 5 dollars.
How To Get Around?
To get around Kuthodaw Pagoda is best go by foot because you will have a tour outdoor because we will have to walk to each shrine one by one.
What Should I Wear?
To have some tour around Kuthodaw Pagoda, there is no fixed dress code that you need to follow. Just wear something comfortable for you to have a tour around the building. Also, wear a comfortable shoes so that you can walk around the complex in comfort.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Kuthodaw Pagoda is when the weather is not too hot, between 3 pm to 6 pm. Kuthodaw Pagoda open every day from 8 am to 8 pm. If you need to go back from the tour by public transportation, it will be better if you look at the time for availability of it.
Will I Need a Guide?
It is okay to go have a tour on Kuthodaw Pagoda without guide, but if you want to know the history for each exhibition or things that displayed there, it will be very recomended to use a guide. The guided tour is available on every day but make sure you have your tickets on the right tour that you chose.
How To Get There?
If you are planning to visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, it is recommended to go there by car. You can go via 78th St from the center of Mandalay. It will took around 20 minutes of driving from Mandalay. The pagoda is located just East of the Mandalay Royal Palace in the North part of Mandalay, very near the Sandamuni pagoda, Atumashi monastery and Shwenandaw Monastery.
If you are visiting Kuthodaw Pagoda, make sure not to miss some important places or things like inga nan payaor the small Buddha shrine for the planetary post of Mercury, saungdanor the covered entrance road, and a zayator small building inside the pagoda.