The Hsinbyume Pagoda is located in the tiny town of Mingun which lies in the Sagaing region in northwestern Burma. Mingun is just 11 km away from Mandalay and can be reached in an hour by boat along the Ayeyarwady River.
The Hsinbyume Pagoda, also called the “Myatheindan Pagoda”, lies in the north of the town of Mingun, very close to the stupa of Mingun Pahtodawgyi. The pagoda, which is snow white in color, resembles the description of the mythological mountain Mount Meru.
The construction of the pagoda began in the year 1816 under King Bagyidaw of the Konbaung dynasty. Hsinbyume Pagoda is dedicated to the memory of the King’s cousin who became the first consort to Princess Hsinbyume, which means the “White Elephant Princess”. She was born in 1789 and died during childbirth in a nearby location in 1812.
The Hsinbyume Pagoda in white
The architecture of the pagoda deviates significantly from the Burmese model of pagodas. It is modeled on the physical descriptions of the mythical pagoda on Mount Meru, called the Sulamani Pagoda. The base of Hsinbyume Pagoda resembles Mount Meru itself. The pagoda consists of seven concentric terraces which represents the seven mountains which rise up to Mount Meru. One can see all representations of mythical creatures in the niches of the shrine like Ogres, Serpents, or Nagas, and the Nats, or the Spirits.
The architecture of Hsinbyume Pagoda
It is possible to climb the stairway to the top of the structure. From the top you will have great views of the Ayeyarwady River and the nearby Mingun Pagoda. The temple complex is completely walled with a large gate providing access to the grounds. Local Buddhists come to the Hsinbyume Pagoda to pay homage, make offerings, and light incense.
The Hsinbyume Pagoda
A devastating earthquake in the year 1836 damaged Hsinbyume Pagoda considerably and it was successfully restored in the year 1874 by King Mindon who was the penultimate king of the country.