The stupa at Mingun is a third finished but its height is still an impressive 50 meters (164 feet). It would have been imposing at the 150-meter (492-feet) height it was intended to be. King Bodawpaya started the ambitious project in 1790. Stories vary as to why it was never finished. Most involve rumors foretelling the end of the kingdom or the death of the king upon the temple’s completion. The superstitious king deliberately slowed progress on the site to evade the prophecies, which nevertheless came true in reverse in 1819 when the king died and construction ceased.In 1838, an earthquake cracked the base and the stupa is today a very large pile of unstable bricks, too tricky to climb, especially barefoot.

The bell  is the largest ringing bell in the world at almost 5 meters (over 16 ft) in diameter and 55,555 viss, a Burmese measurement equivalent to 90,718 kg (90 tonnes / 199,999 pounds). Despite being knocked down by that same 1838 earthquake and later restored, it still rings and is in great condition with no cracks. Step inside for a closer look.

Mandalay-Mingun Bell - 8

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