Reclining Buddha in Bago
There are two reclining Buddha in Bago, one indoor and one outdoor. The one indoor is called Shwethalyaung Buddha. Shwethalyaung Buddha is measuring 55 meters long and 16 meters high, slightly shorter by 10 meter compared to the famous Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha, the other reclining Buddha located in Yangon city. In total, I have seen 3 reclining Buddha during my visit to Myanmar. 2 in Bago city and 1 in Yangon city.
Built in the 10th Century
Shwethalyaung Buddha was built by the Mon King Mgadeikpa in the 10th century and only rediscovered until 1881 when the workers unearthed it while building the Yangon Bago railway line. The Shwethalyaung Buddha was actually partly destroyed in 1757 and was under the cover of jungle growth.
Beautiful mosaic stones was used and added to the pillow on which the Buddha’ head rests.
The temple complex is not big, as usual no shoes, no socks are allowed and no shoulders and knee revealing clothes.
Murals with Story
There are several murals at the back of the reclining Buddha. These murals depicting stories of how the reclining buddha came to be.
There are English words printed at the mural so you can take your time and read the story.
Another highlight not to be missed is the foot of the Buddha which has intricate print and pattern, painted in gold.
The market souvenir hall is at the entrance way to the Shwethalyaung Buddha, both sides of stalls selling all kind of things, including flowers offering to the Buddha.
After visiting the Shwethalyaung Buddha you may like to have a look at the souvenirs sold at the market hall. Things sold here are the longyi or sarong (long skirt to wrap around at your waist), Thanaka – the yellowish powder painted in most Burmese faces and many other little trinket.
Entrance fee :
Entrance fee is 10,000 Kyat (USD$10) for 4 historical sites in Bago. Buy Bago archeological zone ticket and visit all the 4 sites located nearby. Shwethalyaung Buddha is one of the site, the staff at the entrance will help you stamp at your ticket before you enter. The other three historical sites are Shwemawdaw Pagoda (Tallest pagoda in Burma), Kyaik Pun Pagoda (Four towering images of the Buddha) & Kanbawzathadi Golden Palace (Reconstruction of King Bayinnaung’s 16th century palace). This is the 4 must see in Bago.
Final thoughts :
In total, I have seen three reclining Buddhas in Myanmar, one in Yangon also the biggest and two in Bago; indoor & outdoor. The reclining buddha in Myanmar look different from the one I saw in Dafo temple in Gansu China few months ago. Over here in Myanmar, the face features are sharper with bright lipstick and dark eyebrows color as compared to the Dafo Buddha in Gansu China. Hence the reclining Buddha in Myanmar look younger and modern.
Why there are so many reclining Buddha? It is said that this position represent the historical Buddha during his last illness, about to enter the parinirvana/nirvana after death.