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