The Kyauk Taw Gyi pagoda on top of Mindhama Hill near Yangon airport is known for its enormous Buddha image made out of a single piece of white marble.
At the bottom of the stairs to the temple’s entrance are the ferocious looking heads of giant Naga, a serpent from Buddhist and Hindu mythology. The snakes bodies extend on the balustrades. At the stop of the stairway is a pair of giant white and gold Chinthe, lions often seen guarding Burmese temples.
A long corridor with multi tiered Pyatthat roofs leads to the hall enshrining the marble Buddha image. Along the way devotees can buy flowers to pay homage.
37 Feet tall white marble Buddha image
The Kyauk Taw Gyi enshrines the largest marble Buddha image in Burma measuring 37 feet tall and 24 feet wide, weighing over 600 tonnes. The image is enshrined in a large hall adorned with elaborate ornamentations and topped with a Pyatthat, a multi tiered Burmese style roof. The hall’s roof is supported by elaborate golden columns.
Seated in a glass case at the center of the hall is an enormous statue of the Buddha named Lawka Chantha Abaya Labamuni, which translates to “world peace and prosperity”. The statues’ left hand is in the lap, the right hand raised with palm facing outward, the representation of the Abhaya mudra, the fear dispelling or reassurance gesture.
The climate controlled glass case prevents damage from temperature change. The image was carved from a single piece of white marble found near Mandalay and transported to Yangon by boat on the Irrawaddy river; it was enshrined in the temple in 2008. The reflection from the glass makes it difficult to take good photos.
How to get to the Kyauk Taw Gyi pagoda
The pagoda is located at the intersection of Min Dhama road with Pyay road on top of Mindhama Hill near Yangon airport, about 15 kilometers North West of the downtown area.
The easiest way to get there from downtown is by taxi at a fare of about 5,000 Kyat. Alternatively, take the Yangon Circular railway to Insein railway station. The pagoda is found about 1 ½ kilometer East of the station, which will take about 15 minutes on foot.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The grounds open daily from 6 am until 8 pm. Admission is free, there is no camera or VCR fee.