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Hsinbyume pagoda

Pagoda representing Mount Meru of Buddhist cosmology

Hsinbyume Pagoda in Mingun
The Hsinbyume pagoda

The Hsinbyume Pagoda is a beautiful all white structure on the banks of the Irrawaddy river just North of Mandalay. The pagoda that is also known as the Mya Theindan Pagoda is located in the Northern part of Mingun town a few hundred meters from the massive Mingun Pagoda.

The all white pagoda was built in 1816 by Prince Bagyidaw, successor to the throne of King Bodawpaya, who built the nearby Mingun Paya. It was completed three years before the Prince ascended the throne in 1819 and became King of the Konbaung dynasty.

The structure was dedicated to his first wife, Princess Hsinbyume, which literally translates to White Elephant Princess, who died during child birth. During the large earthquake of 1838 the Hsinbyume Pagoda was severely damaged. It was restored by of a successor King.

Representation of Mount Meru

The pagoda’s architectural style is very different from other pagodas in Burma. The base of the structure shaped like circular terraces is a representation of the seven mountain ranges surrounding Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology. The pagoda on top is said to be built after the Chulamanee pagoda in the center of the universe on top of Mount Meru. The pagoda that is topped with a gold spire enshrines a Buddha image. The seven tiered concentric base shaped like waves contains niches, some of which contain small statues of mythological figures.

It is possible to climb the stairway to the top of the structure. From the top you will have great views of of the Irrawaddy river and the nearby Mingun Pagoda.

The temple complex is completely walled with a large gate providing access to the grounds. Local Buddhist people come to the Hsinbyume pagoda to pay homage, make offerings and light incense sticks.

Hsinbyume pagoda in Mingun with the Irrawaddy river in the background
Pagoda near Irrawaddy river

How to get to the Hsinbyume Pagoda

The pagoda is located in the Northern part of Mingun town a little off the Irrawaddy river and the nearby Mingun Pagoda. Easiest and most enjoyable way to get there is by boat from Mandalay. The trip of about 10 kilometers takes around 1 hour. From the jetty in Mingun you can either walk or hire an ox cart serving as a local taxi. The pagoda is a Buddhist place of worship, so please remove shoes and socks before entering the grounds.

Entrance fee & opening hours

The pagoda opens daily during daylight hours. Entrance to Hsinbyume Pagoda requires a ticket for the Sagaing - Mingun archeological zone at US$ 4. This ticket is also valid for other monuments in the area like the Mingun Pagoda close by.