Mandalay, Mahamuni Buddha temple • Myanmar

Watch this video and don't hesitate to read the commentary on the golden buddha and the reputedly faithful reproduction of the face of Buddha, the Mahamuni in Mandalay in Myanmar.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Myanmar • Burma (EN)

Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.

the temple of Mahamuni Buddha

The expression Mahamuni Buddha means "the Great Sage". A magnificent statue of Buddha is worshiped inside this majestic temple. The statue is reputed to reproduce exactly the face of Buddha. There would be in the world (s) only five statures can claim a perfect likeness of Buddha, of which two are in India, two in paradise and the last here, in this temple of the Mahamuni Buddha.

This statue was made in present-day Arakan state, a coastal state that has a short border with Bangladesh, now infamous for the Rohinga massacres.

History of the Buddha statue

According to legend, this bronze statue of almost 4 meters high weighing 6.5 tons, perfectly resembling the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama would have been made during the lifetime of the great man. But no historical verification confirms this belief. What we do know, however, is that she is from Arakan. It is said to have been created by local craftsmen in the 5th century BC and that as early as the middle of the 11th century, King Anawratha of Bagan vainly tried to transport the golden Buddha to his city, Bagan.

Another military expedition, this time under the Konbaung dynasty, was successful and confiscated all of the kingdom's relics, including this statue of Buddha, and brought this loot back to the capital Amarapura, currently a suburb of Mandalay. However, the statue was too large to be able to transport it as it is. It was therefore cut into pieces which were to be reassembled in the temple intended to receive it.

The statue suffered greatly from two major fires, in 1879 and 1884. The temple where this Mahamuni Buddha was kept had to be destroyed and the statue itself suffered some damage. After the fire, a significant amount of molten gold was recovered and this gold was used to make the robe that the Buddha wears today. A new temple was built in 1896 around the original sanctuary.

Later, in 1996, the ruling military decided to carry out renovations to the Mahamuni Pagoda. The following year, a hole was discovered in the belly of the Buddha. There was a rumor that the statue was filled with precious stones. It was then that, to distract people's attention from the statue, a young Muslim was accused of having raped a young Buddhist. This accusation was false, but the goal was achieved. No one paid attention to this hole in the belly of the statue until the repair could be made.


about the place, Mandalay:

Located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay is Myanmar's second city after Yangon (Rangoon). Founded in 1857 by King Mindon, Mandalay became the capital of the Konbaung dynasty in place of Amarapura.

It was also the last royal capital of Burma before annexation by the British in 1885. However, it remained a leading commercial and cultural center during the British era.

The city was devastated during the conquest of Burma by Japan in World War II and it became part of the newly independent Union of Burma in 1948.


Spoken comments in the film: 

The Mahamuni Temple in Myanmar is an important place of pilgrimage. The temple owes its name to the Buddha statue it houses. The statue is made of bronze, is 4 meters high and weighs 6.5 tons. This statue would have been brought back by King Bodaupaya as war prize. As is the case with many statues in Myanmar, the statue is covered in gold leaf by devotees. During our visit, there was a ceremony and many little girls were present in their most beautiful dresses.



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• Disclaimer: As traditional music is often subject to copyright (claimed by major music distribution groups), the musical illustration of this film "Mandalay, Mahamuni Buddha temple • Myanmar " does not use typical music of Myanmar but is borrowed from a collection of royalty-free music. Despite the painstaking care given to the musical choices in this film, some people may regret this choice, but it is the price to pay for not incurring unnecessary lawsuits. This decision was difficult to take, but it's the only viable solution, unfortunately. •

Mandalay, Myanmar. Mahamuni Bouddha temple
entrance to the temple of Mahamuni Buddha, Mandalay • Myanmar
entrance to the temple of Mahamuni Buddha
sale of flowers at the entrance to the temple of Mahamuni Buddha, Mandalay • Myanmar
sale of flowers at the entrance to the temple of Mahamuni Buddha
men sticking gold leaf on the statue of Buddha, Mandalay • Myanmar
men sticking gold leaf on the statue of Buddha
children attending a ceremony at Mahamuni Buddha temple, Mandalay • Myanmar
children attending a ceremony at Mahamuni Buddha temple

Mandalay, Myanmar

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