Kuthodaw Pagoda is one of the most unique sites in Mandalay as it holds the world’s largest book! But it is not a normal book like we imagine. Each ‘page’ of the book is marble and stands alone, surrounded by its own stupa.
There are 729 beautiful white stupas in long rows each with a marble slab inside containing Buddhist scriptures inscribed on them in gold.
The pages are inscribed in Burmese and were created to preserve Buddha’s teachings when the British took over Burma, as the King feared the Buddhist teachings would be lost under British rule so asked for the pagoda to be built.
Kuthodaw Pagoda houses the entire Theravada Buddhist canon inscribed on stone tablets. Commissioned by King Mindon Min in the 19th century, this monumental effort to preserve Buddhist teachings in a tangible form has earned the pagoda its title as the ‘World’s Largest Book.’
Each marble slab represents a page of the book and is over 1.5 metres high and 1 metre wide and they say it would take over one year to finish reading all 729 pages if you read for 8 hours a day!!
How To Get To Kuthodaw Pagoda
The Buddhist stupa Kuthodaw Pagoda is located at the foot of the Mandalay Hill.
It is located within walking distance of Shwenandaw Buddhist Temple, in the north-east corner of Mandalay. It’s also within walking distance of the north-east corner of the moat surrounding Mandalay Palace. Here is the Google Maps location of Kuthodaw Pagoda.
Taxis, tuk-tuks, and bicycles are readily available for hire from wherever you are located in the city.
When To Visit Kuthodaw Pagoda
Visit Kuthodaw Pagoda in the morning before the crowds arrive if you want to get photos without other people in. Kuthodaw Pagoda is open from 8am until 8pm every day except Sunday, when it is open from 8am until 4.30pm.
Kuthodaw Pagoda is a pilgrimage site for buddhists, as well as a popular destination for tourists.
By arriving early, not only will you avoid the crowds and the midday heat, but the soft sunlight will give more detail on the pagodas – if it’s too bright they may appear overexposed in your photos.
The good thing if you do visit a bit later in the day, is that there are so many stupas that it should be easy enough to find a spot without other people in!
What Else To Do Near Kuthodaw Pagoda
- Mandalay Hill: Afterwards head up to Mandalay Hill, where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city. The climb is rewarding, and you can visit several monasteries and pagodas along the way.
- Shwenandaw Monastery: Discover the intricately carved teakwood architecture of nearby Shwenandaw Monastery, known for its historical importance and stunning craftsmanship.
Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!