The massive, unfinished Mingun Pagoda is an impressive site on the bank of Irrawaddy River. Two giant stone lions about 29 meters high guard the pagoda, which if completed, will be the largest pagoda in Myanmar.
The history of the pagoda can be dated back to the end of the 19th century when King Bodawpaya wanted to build the largest pagoda in the country to enshrine his war loot, a Buddha tooth relic, something that his predecessors had not achieve. To demonstrate his power, the King intended the pagoda to be 152 meters high and even moved to a new residence on an island in the river to supervise the construction. However, when the pagoda reached a height of 50 meters, the project was halted due to a lack of fund and labor. Till today, the pagoda is still left unfinished. Nevertheless, it still serves as a place of worship and meditation with a Buddha image enshrined in it. To enter the shrine, you need to take off your footwear.
The Mingun Pagoda is adjacent to the giant Mingun Bell and Hsinbyume Pagoda whose architectural style is meant to represent the mythological Mount Meru. A trip to one is usually combined with visits to the other two. Here is a sample tour covering these attractions: 10-Day Best of Myanmar.