Sutaungpyi Pagoda

The pagoda and its ancillary pavilion are located near the top of Mandalay Hill, the holy hill from which the Buddha reportedly predicted that a great religious city would emerge at its base. It is suggested that the pagoda was originally built by the great builder of Bagan, King Anawratha, in 1052. This “wish-granting” pagoda was often renovated by its patrons, the Konbaung kings, in later years. Perhaps the most famous of the renovators of the religious structures on Mandalay Hill was U Khan Dee. the famous and legendary “Hermit on the Hill”, who spent 41 years of his life on the hill raising funds for many structures, including Sutaungpyai, where he spent many years. The dominant natural feature of Mandalay is its 790 ft (240 m) Mandalay Hill which towers above the city and the flat plain below. Virtually all visitors and pilgrims to Mandalay either climb the 1,729 steps of the covered southern stairway with its magnificent guardian chinthe (half-lion, half-dragon) at the entry, use stairways on the other sides or use easier means and take the escalator, cars or buses to the top. From its top, and from several way-stations along the ascent, one has a magnificent panorama of the city, the old Royal Palace and Fortress, as well as the Ayeyarwady river and the distant Shan Hills. The legend has it that the Buddha, on his visit, had made a prophecy that a great city would be founded at the foot of this hill.

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