Located on Shwe Gon Taing Road in the township of Tamwe, Yangon is the well known Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda. It is famous for its huge Reclining Buddha image that was built in 1966 to replace the original image constructed in 1907. The original Buddha deteriorated due to the tropical climate and underwent its first restoration in 1957. Apparently, it was demolished and completely replaced by what is now seen inside the pagoda, referred to as the 6-Storey-High Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha. The pagoda is also referred to as the 6-Tiered Pagoda.
Construction of the original 1907 image began as early as 1899 and was led by U Hpo Thar. He dreamed of constructing a pagoda that will be recognized not only in his country but also the rest of the world. The original figure was almost 60 meters long and 30 meters high from the surface of the couch where it is reclining to the halo around the image’s head. The couch is about two meters high. The original image was just half reclining on the royal couch with one hand supporting its torso. From afar, it looked as though it was completely in a seated position. The head faced towards the west while the entire body was turned to the south. The reconstructed 1966 figure aligned the head towards the east while the body to the north. In 1973, additional extensions were added and so today the image is almost 66 meters long, while the height of the couch was reduced to 1.22 meters.
Non-Buddhist guests and tourists may find this pagoda and Buddha image fascinating but not spend as much time. Devotees, on the other hand, regularly come here and linger in prayer, worship and offerings. The pagoda is not far from the tourist center of Yangon, and therefore it is often visited by local and foreign tourists. It is open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day.
Other tourist attractions in Yangon, to name a few include the Bogyoke Aung San Park, Mahana Guha, the National Museum, People’s Square and People’s Park, Botahtaung Pagoda, Kaba Aye Pagoda and a zoological garden. Yangon’s Zoological Garden is clearly one of the leading attractions in the city primarily for its remarkable collection of flora and fauna, which have been collected through the years since the park was established in 1906. This is a good spot to rest and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature after having spent some time in the tranquility of a pagoda such as Chauk Htat Gyi.
Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is flanked by several monasteries occupied by more than 600 monks. The entire cost of maintaining these monasteries is covered by donations. The construction of the pagoda was also completely financed by the people’s donations. Two similar pagodas are within the area and they are the Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda, which houses the 5-storey Ngar Htat Gyi Buddha, and the Koe Htat Gyi Buddha and its 9-Storey-High Buddha. Just across Chauk Htat Gyi are the Excel Tower Shopping Mall and Shwe Gon Taing.