Ratanabon Pagoda

The Ratanabon Pagoda was built by Minkhamaung and his chief queen Shin Htway in A.D 1612. The main edifice is circular at the base, measures 365 in circumference, and is constructed of huge blocks of sandstone; it rises in a number of concentric tiers, of which the upper portion recedes from the one lying beneath it, to a height of about 200 feet. The uppermost portion has fallen down. During the Second World War, a bomb hit the Ratanabon Pagoda, and a half of the main structure was damaged. There are no entrances, niches, arches, nor ornamentation of any kind, not even an image could be found. At a distance of eight feet from the central stupa rises a brick wall 4′ high and 2′ thick, which encompasses the pagoda in circle; then follows a row of 24 small circular pagodas, built of brick. They are now all in ruin. This pagoda resembles a huge bell. The whole structure is enclosed by an octagonal wall 8-10′ thick, with an entrance at the south. A lion made of sandstone protects each of the four corners of the outer pagoda walls. The temple court is in ruin. The building is impressive by its massiveness. Its architecture pattern resembles an ordinary pagoda, like Sanchi in India. But the bareness of decorative designs and the absence of structural ornamentations characterize it as peculiarly Rakhine. Traditionally it is believed that the pagoda was built for the purpose of acquiring or securing treasures, both mundane and spiritual. (Ratana means “treasure”, “bon” means to gather, to accumulate.)

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