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Chauk Htat Gyi (ခြောက်ထပ်ကြီး)

Burmese. Name of a giant (gyi) reclining Buddha image in Yangon's Bahan Township, with a length of 65.85 meter. Its construction started in 1899 and was completed in 1907, though it initially had a length of just 59.28 meter. Extensive reconstruction of the image completed in 1973, extending its length to 65.85 meters. This stunning Buddha image has eyes made of glass that were custom-made at the Naga Glass Factory in Yangon and the soles of his feet are adorned with the 108 signs of a buddha, which are also found on most Buddhapada and said to represent the Triloka, i.e. the Three Worlds, with 59 of them indicating Okasaloka, the inanimate World of Location’ or ‘Sphere of Existence’; 21 indicating Sattaloka, the inanimate Corporeal World or World of Beings’; and 28 indicating Sankharaloka, the World of the Conditioned or World of Formations’. The essence here is to indicate that the Buddha is greater than all the Three Worlds. The image is in the same style as ‒and reminiscent of‒ the 13.9 meter tall Nga Htat Gyi Buddha (fig.), erected in a 5-tiered building just across the street from the Chauk Htat Gyi image. Lined up both in front of and at the back of the reclining Buddha are 36 smaller Buddha statues all with different mudras, i.e. hand positions used in iconography to represent certain legendary scenes or situations that occurred in the life of the Buddha. Behind the feet of the reclining Buddha is a colourful mural depicting the main episodes in the Buddha's life, and at the head is a small hall with a collection of finely carved sandalwood Buddha images. Behind the back of Chauk Htat Gyi's head is an octagonal platform with eight Buddha images in different poses, as well as eight different animals. They each correspond to a day of the week, with Wednesday ‒being the middle of the week‒ having two Buddha images and two animals assigned to it, i.e. one for the morning and one for the afternoon. Behind the platform, in the corner, is a statue of Bo Bo Gyi (fig.), a benevolent guardian spirit unique to each Buddhist temple in Myanmar  and who is classically depicted as a life-sized man, often holding a walking stick in one hand while pointing the index finger of his other hand in a direction away from him (fig.). The reclining Buddha of Wat Phrathat Suthon Mongkon Khiri in Thailand is built in Burmese style and was probably inspired by the Chauk Htat Gyi image (fig.). See MAP.


Chauk Htat Gyi Reclining Buddha