Photo: The spectacular stupas at Sandamuni Pagoda.

Kuthodaw and Sandamuni pagodas

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When you think about what the world’s largest book may look like, you’re likely to imagine a massive leather tome tucked away in some library. In actuality, the world’s largest “book” is in Mandalay at Kuthodaw Pagoda. It consists of 729 standing stone “pages”, each with their own private stupa known as a kyauksa gu. They span across the vast pagoda grounds in long organised rows to spectacular effect and are well worth a visit.

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Each "page"—more than a metre wide and nearly two high—relates a tale from sacred teachings and represents the entire 15 books of the Buddhist Tripitaka. It’s said to have taken eight years to write and took six months for relaying monks to read it.

Kuthodaw Pagoda Photo taken in or around Kuthodaw and Sandamuni pagodas, Mandalay, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Kuthodaw Pagoda Photo: Mark Ord

The pages were originally inscribed in 1857 in Pali using gold ink, as King Mindon feared the loss or damage of these Buddhist texts during the British takeover. When Mandalay was annexed by the British in 1885, Kuthodaw Pagoda became off-limits to Burmese. A direct appeal to Queen Victoria led to the withdrawal of troops from Kuthodaw, but not before soldiers plundered the pagoda and the gem-crowned shrines. Subsequent restoration succeeded in restoring only some of the pagoda’s ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)


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