If you are travelling to Monywa by car you should stop about 20 kilometres before you reach the town to visit this most unusual Buddhist temple complex on 37 acres of land which is part of the Mohnyin Forest Monastery retreat. The pagoda was started on 20th June 1939 and completed on 2nd March 1952.It was the brain-child of the famous Mohnyin Sayadaw whose life-like effigy can be seen nearby.
Some visitors say that this Pagoda reminds them of Borobodur. as it is similar in architectural design. Unlike Borobodur this is a modern place of worship. well maintained. and with interesting samples of modern Buddhist art. There are many different Buddha images. row upon row in ascending tiers in niches along the walls: the total number is 582. 257. an amazing figure! Unlike most of the pagodas in Myanmar. the entrance is not guarded by Chinthes. the mythical lions. but by statues of a pair of magnificant white elephants which are sacred and auspicious in Buddhist symbolism.
Thanboddhay is the only pagoda with this unique shape in the whole country. The square temple base (each side about 166 feet) which worshippers can enter is topped by receding terraces. with myriads of small stupas (864 in number) surrounding the central golden chedi. 132 feet in height.
Tourists can study and take photos of the twenty tagundaing. huge decorated pillars. and also big masonary fruits in the shape of bunches of bananas and coconuts. water melon. mangos. jackfruits. papaya and so on . These fruits are also objects of veneration for the local farmers.
If you can go at the beginning of the Myanmar month of Tazaungmone ( usually around November). you can see the annual pagoda festival. which goes on for several days when the villagers from all around come to enjoy the music and dancing. and buy from the various stalls set up by sellers from all over the country.
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