Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon

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Overview

Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is sometimes referred to by foreign visitors as the ‘Sweet-Eyed Buddha, the statue’s porcelain face is punctuated by expressive large eyes (made from special imported Japanese glass), vermillion lips and bright blue eyeshadow.

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Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda

Even the nails are painted red. Resting on his right, the Buddha’s staggered feet (indicating the living state just before his death, as opposing to parallel feet, denoting his passing away) are decorated with 108 sacred Buddhist symbols.

History

Chauk Htat Gyi was built at the turn of the 20th century but, after years of neglect, was brought to the present site in 1966 by a devout Buddhist named U Hop Thar. The renovations were made possible by donations from the local community, and some foreign tourists, whose names and contributed amounts are inscribed on the beams of the roof. The maintenance cost is therefore reflected in the higher-than-usual-admission fee, which also goes towards the education of 300 or so monks in the nearby Ashay Tawya monastery.

Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda

Surrounding the statue are small shrines devoted to Buddhas of each day of the week. According to eastern astrology, there are eight days to a week, Wednesday counting as two. The custom is that visitors first pay homage to the main Buddha, with offering of flowers and candles, and then worship at the shrine of the Buddha of their birthdate.

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