Myanmar / Burma Travel Update
Since I was there, the situation in Myanmar/Burma has changed a lot. In February 2021, a military coup sparked widespread civil unrest and armed conflict.
The U.S. State Department currently advises: "Do not travel to Burma due to civil unrest and armed conflict." You can find their full travel advisory and security alerts here. And you can find the British Foreign Office's travel advice for Myanmar / Burma here.
Many of Myanmar’s pagodas are very, very old. But they’re also living monuments. Many of the pagodas in the Bagan Archaeological Zone are protected and are now frozen in time, but others elsewhere undergo constant regeneration and change. That’s thanks to the strong tradition of donors. Give enough money and you can have a say in paint colors, adding tiles, or any of the thousands of design decisions that might go into making up a pagoda. Even for small donations, many temples have glass donation boxes where each is designated for a particular purpose.
Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda is a prime example. Generous donors have allowed for recent renovations that have added new coats of paint, added many thousands of green tiles, paved the sweeping patio, and refreshed the artwork throughout the complex. The result is both resplendent and decidedly busy.
As with many Burmese names, you might see variations in how it is transliterated. It also sometimes appears as Oohminthonesel Pagoda, U Min Thonze Pagoda, or Umin Thonze Pagoda.
The pagoda stands on the top of a hill—Sagaing Hill, as it happens—in the religious district of Sagaing, across the Ayeyarwaddy River (Irrawaddy River) from Mandalay, a compact area that is home to many, many temples, monasteries, and nunneries. For a short period in the early 14th century, Sagaing was the capital of the Shan kingdom. Now it’s known as a spiritual heartland, home to something like 6,000 monks and nuns.
The layout of Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda isn’t your typical temple layout. It’s a large crescent looking out southwest from the hillside over the surrounding countryside. It’s not actually a cave, but when you’re inside it feels a bit like you’re in a long, shallow cave carved into the mountainside.
It isn’t what you’d call plain. There are the intricate geometric patterns of the tiled floor and the reflective jade-colored tiles of the walls. The outside is filled with dozens of small doorways, each rimmed with ornate golden designs. But the main feature is a row of almost 50 statues of the Buddha that line the wall looking out. They’re all nearly identical visually, but each has its own significance. They stretch out around the gentle curve of the cave, so that you can’t see the end of them if you stand at one end of the room.
Photos of Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda
More About OoHminThoneSel Pagoda
- Constructed in the early 20th century to commemorate a member of the royal family
- Situated in the Sagaing Region, Myanmar
- Features circular terraces and an intricate exterior design
- Exterior plaster carvings depict scenes from the Jataka tales, stories of the Buddha’s previous lives
- Important religious site for the local Buddhist community
- Surrounded by well-maintained gardens and areas for quiet contemplation
The OoHminThoneSel Pagoda in Myanmar’s Sagaing Region is a significant Buddhist temple that stands out for its unique architectural features. Constructed in the early 20th century to honor a member of the royal family, the pagoda boasts circular terraces and an elaborate exterior adorned with intricate plaster carvings. These carvings depict scenes from the Jataka tales, providing insight into the stories of the Buddha’s previous lives and Buddhist beliefs.
As an important religious site, the OoHminThoneSel Pagoda attracts numerous devotees who visit the temple to engage in religious ceremonies and pay their respects throughout the year. In addition to its spiritual significance, the pagoda is surrounded by picturesque gardens and peaceful areas for quiet reflection, offering visitors a serene atmosphere for contemplation.
What’s Nearby to OoHminThoneSel Pagoda
- Sagaing Hill
- U Min Thonze Pagoda
- Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda
- Kaunghmudaw Pagoda
- Yaza Mani Sula Kaunghmudaw
How to Get to OoHminThoneSel Pagoda
The OoHminThoneSel Pagoda is located in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar. The nearest major city is Mandalay, which is approximately 21 kilometers (13 miles) away. The closest major airport is Mandalay International Airport (MDL), which offers domestic and international flights. From the airport or Mandalay city center, visitors can hire a taxi or arrange for private transportation to reach the pagoda.
What to Know Before You Go
This is a hilly area, and there’s a short walk uphill to the main pagoda through a covered market area.
Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda FAQs
What is unique about Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda?
Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda, also known as U Min Thonze Pagoda, is famous for its crescent-shaped colonnade housing 45 mostly identical gilded Buddha statues in various mudras (hand gestures). The pagoda is situated on the picturesque Sagaing Hill, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
How can I get to Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda?
Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda is located in Sagaing, Myanmar, about 12.4 miles (20 km) southwest of Mandalay. To reach the pagoda, you can take a taxi, private car, or shared pickup truck from Mandalay. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour that includes a visit to the pagoda and other attractions in the area.
What other names is Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda known by?
As with many Burmese names, you might see variations in how Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda is transliterated. It also sometimes appears as Oohminthonesel Pagoda, U Min Thonze Pagoda, or Umin Thonze Pagoda.