Famed Dome-Shaped Pagoda Repainting Project to Start This Week

By Zarni Mann 26 November 2018

MANDALAY – The repainting of Sagaing’s Kaunghmudaw Pagoda will begin on Dec. 1, the pagoda’s trustee committee said on Sunday.

The famed dome-shape pagoda was painted gold on the instruction of a former military general and locals of Sagaing and the pagoda’s trustee committee have been seeking permission to repaint it in its original white color for some time.

After permission was finally granted by the regional government in September this year, the pagoda trustee committee held discussions with one of the Myanmar’s most influential abbot, Sitagu Sayadaw, and tenders for the project were called for early this month.

“We will begin the repainting process on December 1, and plan to finish it by the full moon day of Tabaung, which is the birthday of Sitagu Sayadaw,” said U Tin Myo Lwin, chairperson of Pagoda Trustee Committee.

The full moon of Tabaung falls in March, and the trustee committee said they will make sure to finish the painting project in time to celebrate the birthday of Sitagu Sayadaw.

According to the trustee committee, the paint is to be imported from Italy and will cost about $71,000. The full project, including the cleaning and removal of the gold paint from the pagoda, is expected to cost around 130 million kyats ($81,000).

“There will be a lot of processes which we will do including scraping off the gold paint, cleaning, reinforcing, applying a protective coating and painting it white, which are time-consuming and costly. However, we will make sure to finish the whole process on time,” said U Tin Myo Lwin.

He said that the pagoda, in its original white color, will be revealed during a Buddhist ceremony in celebration of the birthday of Sitagu Sayadaw.

Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, more than 380 years old, was originally painted white. In December 2010, after a visit by former Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the pagoda was painted gold. Rumors spread during that time that the senior-general ordered it painted gold according to an astrologist’s suggestion in order to bring prosperity.