Manuha Paya


In Myinkaba village stands this active and rather modern-looking pagoda (although it dates from 1059). It is named after Manuha, the Mon king from Thaton who was held captive here by King Anawrahta. In the front of the building are three seated buddhas; in the back is a huge reclining buddha. All seem too large for their enclosures – supposedly representing the stress and discomfort the king had to endure.

It is said that only the reclining buddha, in the act of entering parinibbana (final passing away), has a smile on its face, showing that for Manuha only death was a release from his suffering. But if you climb to the top of this paya via the stairs in the back (ask for keys if it’s locked), you can see the face of the sitting buddha through a window – from up here you’ll realise that the gigantic face, so grim from below, has an equally gigantic smile.

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