Sandhamuni or Sandamani Pagoda
Sandhamuni Pagoda or Sandamani Pagoda was built in 1874 by King Mindon, the founder of Mandalay. It is situated to the east of Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, near the base of the Mandalay Hill. The Sandhamuni (Sandamani) Pagoda was built at the site of the temporary palace where King Mindon stayed during the construction of the Royal Palace. It was here that the palace rebellion of 1866 took place, where Crown Prince Kanaung was assassinated during the rebellion. After the rebellion, Prince Kanaung was cremated at this place, and a pagoda built over his tomb. This pagoda is the Sandhamuni (Sandamani) Pagoda.
The structure of the Sandhamuni (Sandamani) Pagoda resemble the nearby Kyauktawgyi Pagoda due to the presence of a large number of slender white washed ancillary stupas on the ground. In the middle of the Pagoda is a large iron Buddha image. Originally cast by the King Bodawpaya of Amarapura in 1802, the iron Buddha image was moved to Mandalay in 1974 by King Mindon and enshrined in the Sandhamuni (Sandamani) Pagoda. The iron Buddha is 18.5 tons weigh and covered with gold all over. Statues of 80 arahats (disciples of Buddha) were also moved from their original place in Amarapura to Mandalay and enshrined in individual small stupas around the main pagoda.
Surrounding the Sandhamuni (Sandamani) Pagoda are 1774 marble stone slabs of commentaries on Tripitaka (Tipitaka or Buddha’s teachings). Each is 5.5 feet high, 3.5 feet wide and 0.5 foot thick. Erected in 1913, they were the merits of the famous Hermit U Khanti, who also renovated the Mandalay Hill and various pagodas and temples all over Myanmar. He also built iron roofed stairways (Zaungdans) and devotional halls (Tazaungs).
In 1991, the tombs of Crown Prince Kanaung and three other princes who died in the palace rebellion were moved to a mausoleum in Mandalay.
Editor’s Note: Many of the above information has been obtained from our reference book Lonely Planet Guide to Myanmar (Burma)