Mingun is best known for its gigantic, unfinished stupa, the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, which was meant to be the largest in the world (at a project height of 150 meters), but now lies ravaged by earthquakes on the western bank of the Irrawaddy river. Only a third of the pagoda was completed by thousands of prisoners of war before a prophecy that the completion of the pagoda would result in the destruction of the country put a dampener on construction. Today the 50 meter tall brick ruin makes a spectacular attraction and a staircase has been recently built to allow visitors to appreciate the view from the summit. The structure is an impressive sight, and there is panoramic view from the top. Although there are signs telling you not to climb the stairs due to the damage and cracks, locals rarely stop visitors doing so and sometimes even encourage it.
The largest un cracked ringing bell in the world, the 90 tons Mingun bell with a diameter of almost 5 meters was cast to go in the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, and holds pride of nearby. A few minutes’ walk to the north of the bell can be found Sinbyume Pagoda, a white pagoda that is quite different in design and style from most pagodas in Myanmar. The architecture of the pagoda was inspired by legends of Mount Meru – home of the gods in Hindu Mythology and also incidentally the inspiration for many temples at Angkor. Mingun can be reached in around 20 or 30 mins by a sealed and pretty lane from Sagaing, the other side of Mandalay.