The Mahamuni Pagoda is the holiest shrine in Mandalay. It is noted for the Mahamuni Buddha image, which is among the five likenesses of the Buddha made during his lifetime.
The highly venerated Mahamuni Buddha image is housed in a small chamber with seven-tiered roofs and mosaic-covered ceiling. Gold leaves are regularly added to the face of the image by male devotees. The bronze Buddha image weighs 6.5 tonnes with a height of some 4 meters. Its crown is bejeweled with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Only men are allowed to come close to it and touch it. Since 1988, the ritual of washing the face of Buddha image has been conducted daily. Every morning at around 4 am the monks residing in the adjoining monastery will come to wash the face and brush the teeth of the image.
Another sight that should not be missed in the Mahamuni Pagoda is several old bronze statues that line the courtyard of the temple. They are actually war loots. These bronze statues found at the Angkor Wat in Cambodia were first by Thai armies in the 15th century and taken by the Burmese to Mandalay in the 16th century. It is said that rubbing the bronze statues can prevent illness.
Tips: To take pictures of the Buddha image you have to pay a camera fee.
Want to pay a visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda? This 14-Day Essential Burma with Ngapali Beach offers a chance.
You might also have an interest in the Mandalay Palace.