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Mahazedi (မဟာစေတီ)

Burmese. ‘Great Zedi’ or ‘Great Stupa’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Bago, which was built in 1560 AD by the Burmese King Bayinnaung (fig.), in order to enshrine a tooth-relic of the Buddha, which was allegedly brought from Sri Lanka. However, the relic, which arrived only in 1576, was in fact a replica. When King Anaukpetlun in 1599 conquered Bago, he moved the relic to Taungoo, and when King Thalun in 1636 invaded Taungoo, he moved the relic to Inwa, enshrining them at Kaunghmudaw Phaya (fig.) in Sagaing. Over time, the Mahazedi Pagoda was damaged several times in earthquakes, successively in 1564, 1583 and 1888, and eventually completely destroyed in 1930, and was subsequently rebuilt in the nineteen fifties. The temple also features a pavilion with a crocodile-shaped makara handrail (fig.) and a brick temple topped with a gilded sikhara, which houses some standing Buddha images and of which the roof is supported by enormous gilded columns with lotus cornices. The interior walls of this building have niches containing either windows or smaller Buddhist sculptures (map - fig.). Prior to the eastern entrance gate to the pagoda, on the left side of the road, is a small shrine featuring a Hintha Barge (map - fig.). The concrete replica barge is topped with a bell-shaped stupa, which is accompanied by a tapathi (fig.) standing at the stern of the barge, i.e. the tail of the hintha bird (fig.). There is also a stupa named Mahazedi in Bagan (fig.). See MAP.