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Kyauk Taw Gyi Phaya (ကျောက်တော်ကြီးဘုရား)

Burmese. ‘Great Stone Deity Pagoda’, yet usually translated as ‘Temple of the Great Marble Image’. Name of a Buddhist temple at the foot of Mandalay Hill (fig.), which houses a ca. 8 meter tall statue that has been carved out of a single block of pale green marble. It is one of the largest marble Buddha images in Myanmar (map - fig.), closely following the ca. 11 meter marble image at a temple of the same name on Mindhama Hill in Yangon. The statue was extracted from a quarry in the Sagyin Hills, located some 26 kilometers north of Mandalay. According to one version, the marble monolith was transported to the site of the temple over a period of 13 days and that some 10,000 men were employed to shift the stone, though another version speaks of a canal that was dug to bring the stone to the site by floating it on a vessel or raft, but that due to insufficient water levels some 10,000 labourers were involved in helping to raise the water level. The construction of the temple began in 1853, i.e. in the first year of the reign of King Mindon Min (fig.), yet was not completed until the mid eighteen sixties, due to some internal disturbances. Kyauk Taw Gyi Phaya is built adjacent to ‒and may even be considered a part of‒ the larger temple complex of Yadanabon San Kyaung, which in its southeastern corner has a pavilion dedicated to King Mindon Min (fig.) and his entourage. See MAP.