The Pagoda was started in 1790 and would have been the world’s biggest stupa, had it been finished but only the bottom third was completed but it is still a huge structure 38 metres high – the ‘biggest pile of bricks in the world’. Deep cracks were caused by an earthquake in 1838. On the riverside remains the pagoda’s guardian lions which are 2 vast brick chinthe which are half lion/half dragon guardians of the temple. Alongside is the ‘world’s largest working hanging bell’ weighing 87 tons and standing at 12ft. The MyaThein Dan / Hsinbyume Pagoda is nearby.
The Mingun Pagoda’s current state is due to the ambition and vanity of King Bodawpaya. Having just brought the Maha Muni Buddha from Rakhaing to Amarapura and become an owner of a white elephant, he wanted to further emphasize his supremacy by developing the world’s tallest pagoda at 500 feet. Construction lasted from 1790 to 1797 and was halted due to labour problems and a compounding economic crisis at the beginning of the 19th century. Bodawpaya died in 1813 and none of his children completed the project.
The small village of many family-run potteries, Yandabo, is famous as the location of the signing of the peace agreement in 1826 after the first Anglo-Burmese war.