In the year 2000, one of the noted stonework sculptors from Mandalay. Thiri Thudama Manizawta Dhara U Taw Taw and family had discovered immense Crystal Marble Stone-over 600 tons in weight and with 37 ft in length, 24 ft in breadth and 11 ft in thickness-at the Sakyin Hill in Madaya Township, Mandalay Division. The family had donated this Marble stone to the government Upon receiving this Marble Stone, the State Peace and Development Council had made an arrangement for sculpturing it into a roughly curved Buddha Image and to bring this immense Marble stone to Yangon by way of Ayeyarwaddy river and to place on top of the Mindama Hill. On 10 July 2000, the roughly curved Marble Buddha Image was brought to Yangon with a big Thone lu Tauk Pa riverain barge along the Ayeyarwady River from Sakyin Hill and arrived at the destination (Yangon) on 5 August 2000.
With the able assistance of the respective departmental skilled Myanmar engineering forces, the big Marble Stone was successfully lifted up to the top of the Mindama Hill, which is 26 ft high from the foot of the hill.
One of the distinguishing marks of the 37 ft high Loka Chantha Abhaya Laba Muni Buddha Image is the presence of a natural cavity on the right temple of the head which is 1,5 inches in diameter and 14 inches in depth. This natural cavity is considered to be a spiritual natural cavity (Nat Htwin) and is therefore enshrined with Scared Relics of Buddha.
The first consecration of the Marble Buddha Image was held on 27 February 2002, i.e the full moon day of Tabotwe, in the presence of 108 most distinguished Buddhist monks of Myanmar.
Also, the First Buddha devotional offering Festivals were held from 23 to 27 February 2002. On 24 February 2002, a ceremonial offering of provisions to 1000 monks was held at the precinct of the Pagoda. From then on, every year during the full moon day of Tabotwe (i.e.in the month of February) a ceremony of offering provisions and articles to monks is regularly held at the Pagoda. The Loka Chantha Abhaya Laba Muni Buddha Image is one the biggest and highest of all the Marble Buddha Images in Myanmar.
The chamber, where the Loka Chantha Abhaya Laba Muni Buddha Image rested, is 126 ft high, 136 feet from north to south and 124 ft from east to west. Joining the Chamber, on the south and north, are two stairways, each of which is 246 ft long and 24 ft wide. Each stairway is composed of 9 compartments. At the end tips of the stairway are two lions on each side which are 36 ft in height.
The Maha Ahtula Patta Nilar Marble Bowl is situated at the frontage of the Chamber of the Buddha Image. This Marble Bowl is also donated by U Taw Taw and family. During the time of the devotional offering of provisions and alms, held at the premises of the Buddha image, this Bowl is filled with cooked rice and from there it has been donated to the monks. The diameter of the bowl is 10 ft 4 inches and the height is 5ft 11 inches with the internal depth of 5 ft 2 inches. It is over 30 tons in weight and can fill 63 baskets of cooked rice.
FIVE MARBLE BUDDHA IMAGES OF MYANMAR
1. Lay Kyun Mann Aung Marble Buddha Image
This Buddha image was sculptured during the time of King Tanin Ganwe in the year Myanmar Era 1086 (A.D 1724). It was placed for worship at the premises of Lay Kyun Mann Aung Pagoda at Thawta Pan quarter in Sagaing. It is 13 ft 10 inches high.
2. Loka Tharaphu Marble Buddha Image
This Buddha Image was also sculptured at the time of King Tanin Ganwe in M.E 1093 (A.D 1731). But the statute was not finished during his reign, and therefore his son king Maha Dhama Yarzar Dipati had completed the work and it was taken to Inwa and conferred with the name Loka Tharaphu. It is 25 ft in height.
3. Maha Thetkya Yanthe Marble Buddha Image
This Marble Buddha Image was sculptured during the region of King Bagyidaw in the year M.E 1192 (A.D 1830). The Buddha Image was placed inside the premises of the replica of Ananda Pagoda for worship at Amarapura east of Taung Thaman Lake. It is 17 ft 9 inches in height.
4. Maha Thetkya Marazein Marble Buddha Image
During the region of King Mindon in the year M.E 1226 (A.D 1864) the Maha Thetkya Marazein Marble Buddha Image was sculptured and placed for worship at the Maha Loka Marazein Pagoda which is situated at the foot of the Mandalay Hill. The Image is 27 ft in height.
5. Loka Chantha Abaya Laba Muni Marble Buddha Image
This Buddha Image was sculptured, established and consecrated for worship at the Mindama Hill in Insein Township Yangon during the time of the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Senior Gen¬eral Than Shwe. It is 37 ft high.
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Downstream river cruise on the beautiful Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan with daily sailing and excursions to village, markets and historic sites. Wonderful trip!
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