Your base for exploring this tourist attraction is the heritage city of Mandalay. For travel information about Mandalay, go to Mandalay Travel Guide. To prepare for a trip to Myanmar, read also the Myanmar Travel Guide. Looking for budget accommodation there? Use AsiaExplorers Budget Accommodation Guide, the no-frills website to cover your budget accommodation needs.
The Kuthodaw Paya (also called Kuthodaw Pagoda) is a huge walled temple complex at the base of the southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill. Kuthodaw Paya was built by King Mindon at about the same time as the Mandalay Royal Palace.
The pitaka pagodas that make up Kuthodaw Paya's "world's biggest book."
The central stupa of Kuthodaw Paya is called Maha Lawka Marazein Paya, and that name is often used to refer to Kuthodaw Paya itself. The Maha Lawka Marazein Paya was built in 1857, and was modelled after the Shwezigon Pagoda of Nyaung U, in Bagan. According the an on-site stela, the Maha Lawka Marazein Paya is 187ft high, including the platform on which it stands, while guidebooks usually list its nett height as 30 m (100 ft) high.
The Kuthodaw Paya is often called the World's Largest Book. That's because the Maha Lawka Marazein Paya is connected to the entrance by a long corridor, and is set in the middle of a thirteen acre field that contain 729 pitaka shrines, called dama cetis. These shrines, built in 1872 during the Fifth Buddhist Synod, each contains a marble slab inscribed on both sides with the Pali script text of a portion the Tipitaka (Pali spelling, or Tripitaka, in Sanskrit), Theravada Buddhism's sacred texts. Taken together, the pitaka shrines contain the entire text of the Tipitaka and thus form "the world’s largest book."
The stone slabs were carved from white Sagyin Hill marble found just a few miles north of Mandalay. The project began in October 1860 and was carried out in a special hall within King Mindon's Royal Palace. Each slab measures 5 ft (1.5 m) tall by 3.5 ft (1.1 m) wide and 5-6 inches (12.7 – 15 cm) thick. The project was completed in May 1869. If spread out horizontally, the slabs would cover a third of an acre (.1 ha). Vertically stacked, these "pages" would rise 340 ft (103m) high!
There is a US$5 entrance fees for foreign travellers not within a tour package to visit the Kuthodaw Paya.
Mandalay and its surroundings
Mandalay was the capital of the old Burmese kingdom. There are lots of sights within Mandalay as well as in the cities nearby that are worth visiting. Click enter to view.