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Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay: Seeing The World’s Largest Book!

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.

kuthodaw pagoda mandalay

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!!

Visiting the sacred complex of Kuthodaw Pagoda is a bucketlist destination for many people and is a must-see place in Myanmar – even if you’re only in Mandalay for one 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!

kuthodaw pagoda mandalay

What Else To Do Near Kuthodaw Pagoda

  1. 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.
  2. Shwenandaw Monastery: Discover the intricately carved teakwood architecture of nearby Shwenandaw Monastery, known for its historical importance and stunning craftsmanship.