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Kaunghmudaw Phaya (ကောင်းမှုတော်ဘုရား)

Burmese. ‘Royal Merit-making Pagoda’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Sagaing. Its dome-shaped design is modeled after some of the traditional cetiya found in Sri Lanka and India, such as the Jetavanaramaya Stupa and the Ruwanwelisaya Pagoda in Anuradhapura, as well as the Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh, and stands out among the other ‒mostly bell-shaped‒ stupas of the area. It has a circumference of 274 meters and is 46 meters high, and was built between 1636 and 1648 AD, its construction lasting 12 years. The stupa contains some relics, including a replica of a tooth relic of the Buddha, which was removed from the Mahazedi Pagoda in Bago (fig.), as well as a massive 7.3 meter high seated Buddha statue, carved out of solid white marble. At the bottom, on the lower edge, the stupa is encircled by 802 stone lanterns, each carved with inscriptions describing episodes from the life of the Buddha in three languages, namely Burmese, Mon and Shan, while at the base, the stupa is surrounded by 120 niches, each of which houses a seated nat-like guardian spirit, who is wearing a golden chadah-style crown, and holding a sword and a lotus flower. Each of the main entrances to the temple are guarded by two large chintha and to the east of the northern entrance is a large water basin with fish and turtles, which visitors come to feed in order to gain merit. See MAP.