Sanda Muni Paya – Mandalay Attractions
Located on the southeastern side of Mandalay Hill, the Sandamuni Paya or Pagoda is quite similar to the Kuthodow pagoda, which is located close by. Both these structures have similar white ancillary stupas on the grounds. Before the pagoda complex was built, it was the site of the provisional palace of King Mindon before he shifted to his current location.
The site is famous for the Sanda Muni Cast Buddha image, cast by King Bodawpaya even before Mandalay was found. It was during the time of the construction of the Great Mingun Pagoda and the temporary reign of King Bodawpaya that the image was cast from 18563.94 kg of iron in 1802. King Mindon shifted the image from Amarapura to the shrine in 1874. This was the seventh and the one of the last journeys of the Iron Buddha, which was frequently shifted from one place to another due to numerous wars and changing capitals during the 19th century.
Apart from the iron cast of Buddha, there were statues of 80 other disciples, which have now been converted to mini-stupas around the pagoda. The statue is exceptionally heavy and is said to weigh around 18.562 tons and is covered with gold foils pasted by believers over the years.
The Sanda Muni Paya also features 1774 marble slabs which include the commentaries and sub-commentaries on the Tipitaka, the Three Baskets of Buddha’s teachings. Each of these are 5.5ft tall, .5 ft thick and 3.5 ft wide. The structure underwent some changes post its renovation in 1991 and is in a good state now.