World’s First Jade Pagoda in Myanmar
Since the earliest date of Buddha Sasana, many Buddhist monuments of different sizes and designs were built, have been built and are being built across the world. A variety of natural materials and man-made materials are used in their constructions, such as stone, sand, copper, bronze, brass, iron, alloy, silver, gold, even steel, terra cotta brick, stone brick, glass, cement concrete, and lacquer. Hardly any precious or semi-precious stones were used to erect Buddhist monuments, although Buddha Images and sacred statues were carved out of or decorated with precious and semi-precious stones.
Werawsana Pagoda, also known as Jade Pagoda, is entirely built from jade, one of Myanmar’s semi-precious stones. It stands majestically on a hillock at Hsin Ywa, Myinhmu village tract in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region, Upper Myanmar. It is easily visible and accessible by motor roads, to and from Mandalay International Airport.
“Werawsana” means it was built for all peoples of Myanmar and all peoples of the world who worship and paid homage to it. Therefore, the title-name means giving of peace, progress, prosperity, good fortune, glory, fame, wealth and immunity from all dangers, and wish-fulfilling.
Myanmar is a country well known worldwide for producing the best quality jade. As it is a natural product, it is likely to be extinct one day, when its mines are exhaustively extracted. Therefore this Jade Pagoda is built to stand as a witness to show that Myanmar is the home of Jadite Jade.
The Jade Pagoda is 75 feet 6 inches high and 176 feet in circumference; each terrace is 52 feet 6 inches long, 52 feet 6 inches broad and 12 feet high. The Umbrella on the top of the Pagoda is 7 feet high and the decorative Banana Bud is 8 feet 6 inches high. Each of the four entrance caves facing four cardinal directions have a jade Buddha statue in seated position. Thirty thousand jade Buddha statues, each measuring 2 inches in circumference, adorn the entire body of the Pagoda.
The Jade Pagoda can withstand an earthquake of 6.59 Richter scale. To enable it to meet heavy storms they used board pile technology. On the steel frame, iron nets and cement were added. There are no bricks and only jade stones that have been collected by the donors for over 25 years are used in the construction. The quality jade stones of A,B,C,D grades of international jade market, totalling over one thousand tons of weight were used to build this Pagoda and 850 tons of quality jade stones are enshrined in the body of the Pagoda. The diamond Bud is also made of quality jade.
For peaceful rest and relaxation of the visitors and pilgrims, a landscape garden is created around the Pagoda. Flowering and fruiting trees are in the park around the Jade Pagoda. The donors selected Myanmar native trees, creepers and plants such as Padauk, Gantgaw, Ingyin, etc. that produce healthy fragrance, pretty hue and medicinal and culinary buds, attracting winged creatures–bees, butterflies, birds–and squirrels.