Weighing 90 tons, the Mingun bell has long been the world's largest working bell before a 116-ton bell found in China. This enormous bell was cast in 1808 at the order of King Bodawpaya. The weight of the bell is 55,555 viss (a Burmese unit of measurement), and its mnemonic words are inscribed on the surface of the bell. A wooden post is used to strike the bell to ring. To achieve a pleasant ringing tone, an alloy of five metals was used to make the bell including gold, silver, bronze, iron, and lead.
The Mingun Bell was intended to be installed at the top of the giant Mingun Pagoda but for some reason, sheltered in a nearby Zayat, an intricate Burmese style pavilion with multitier roofs. It was said to be cast on an island in the middle of the Ayeyarwady River, and to transport it to the present site a barge was constructed directly under the bell. In the rainy season, the river water rose and floated the barge. When the floating was carried out, the king himself led the procession across the Ayeyarwady. The Mingun Bell plays a big role in religious affairs. When one does a good deed, Buddhist in the know will strike the bell to call on others to share the merit.