Sa­gaing’s Min­gun Pa Hto Taw Gyi off lim­its to climbers

The Myanmar Times - - News - PHYO WAI KYAW phy­owaikyaw@mm­

CLIMBERS have been banned from as­cend­ing Sa­gaing Re­gion’s fa­mous Min­gun Pa Hto Taw Gyi Pagoda for fear of fur­ther dam­age to it be­yond what was sus­tained in Au­gust’s earth­quake. Of­fi­cials also say some climbers have failed to re­spect the re­li­gious na­ture of the struc­ture.

U Than Htike, a Sa­gaing Re­gion of­fi­cial of the Depart­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy and Na­tional Mu­seum, said the ban would be per­ma­nent, and would take im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

The or­der will pre­vent vis­i­tors from climb­ing the stairs from the base of Pa Hto Taw Gyi higher than about 40 feet, he said yes­ter­day.

“The aim is to pro­tect lo­cal and for­eign vis­i­tors. The view from the 40-foot mark is good enough. Be­yond that, there is an iron door, and a guard will be posted” so that only main­te­nance work­ers can as­cend, he said.

The build­ing, be­gun by King Bo­daw­paya in 1790, rises a fur­ther 120ft be­yond that point. The pagoda was se­verely dam­aged by an earth­quake in 1839 and fur­ther dam­age was caused by the Richter scale 5.0 quake of Novem­ber 2012 in Thabeikkyin town­ship, Man­dalay Re­gion. Wor­ship­pers ig­nored a re­quest from the au­thor­i­ties at that time to pray at the base and not to as­cend.

Other forms of be­hav­iour will also be banned.

“Peo­ple throw lit­ter and cou­ples make out on Pa Hto Taw Gyi. They sit on top and dan­gle their legs down, which is very dis­re­spect­ful to wor­ship­pers below,” said U Than Htike. – Trans­la­tion by Emoon

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