Bells in Myanmar.
The love of bells in Myanmar is somewhat remarkable. Every
large pagoda has some dozens of them, of all sizes, hanging
round the skirts of the pagoda, the image-house, and sacred
Most of them have long Pali inscriptions on them recording
the praises of the Buddha and the aspirations of the
donators. This inscription runs round the rim of the great
bell at the ‘Kyaikthanlan’ pagoda at Mawlamyine. Most of the
bells have a fine tone, and a flick with the finger is
sufficient to cause a vibration through the whole twenty
five tons of metal in Mahaganda Bell.
shape of the Myanmar bells comes straight down to the mouth
like a barrel not expanding at the rim, like those of
European make, but their tones are very sweet. In Myanmar,
Bells are entirely reserved for pagodas. There is no Myanmar
who doesn’t have a bell in his house. The bells on the more
sacred shrines are very often entirely gold or silver.
Several on the Shwedagon pagoda are of gold, studded with
precious stones and are worthy many hundred U.S. dollars a
In 1853, the British troops had tried to carry off the
sacred Sintgumin Bell from Shwedagon Pagoda and got it on
board of a ship. Unfortunately, the vessel turned over, and
the great bell was capsized into the mud at the bottom of
the Yangon River. Fortunately, the Burmese people succeeded
in salvaging the Bell from the bottom of the River and
replaced it on the Shwedagon Pagoda.
On his return journey from the north in 1557, King
Bayintnaung (1551–1581) set up the great bronze bell at the
Shwezigon Pagoda at Bagan.
The great bell, weighing 89 tons, built by Bodawpaya in the
name of Mingun Bell is the third largest ringing bell all
over the world but the larger two in Russia cannot be rung.