Following the destruction of Bago in 1757, this huge reclining Buddha was overgrown by jungle and not rediscovered until 1881, when a contractor unearthed it while building the Yangon - Bago railway line. According to legend this gorgeous statue, measuring 180ft long and 53ft high, was built by the Mon king Mgadeikpa in the 10th century. The buddha's little finger alone extends 10ft.
The most outstanding of Bago’s attractions is the Shwemawdaw Pagoda (Great Golden God Pagoda), which is to Bago what the Shwedagon is to Yangon. Its stupa can be seen from about 10km (6 miles) outside the city. Richly gilded from base to tip, the pagoda has many similarities to the Shwedagon, and is in fact even taller than its more famous cousin, standing at 114 metres (374ft) in height.
Like Yangon’s Shwedagon, the Shwemawdaw’s main terrace can be approached from four directions by covered stairways. There are not as many brightly coloured tazaung (pavilions) or zayat (resting places) here, but there is a small museum containing some ancient wooden and bronze Buddha figures salvaged from the ruins of the 1930 earthquake.
There are many other famous pagodas in Bago like the Mahazedi (the Great Stupa) built by King Bayinnaung in 1560 A.D. and Hinthakone Pagoda, which you should see.
It is known that the pagoda enshrines a tooth-relic brought from Sri Lanka. Tradition has it that Hinthakone is the hill where the two sacred mythical ducks called Hintha (Hamsa) alighted when only the very top of the hill was above the ocean.
At the heart of ancient Hanthawady was the Kanbawzathadi Palace. All that remains of the original are fragments of the huge teak posts that once held up part of the building. The stumps have been left in situ, while the posts themselves occupy a museum that's a gaudy gold-painted reconstruction of the Great Audience Hall, originally dating from 1599.
Hintha Gon Paya
This temple stands atop what was once the only place in this vast area that rose above sea level, so it was the natural spot for the hamsa of legend to land. Images of this mythical bird decorate the stupa, which was built by U Khanti, the hermit monk who was the architect of Mandalay Hill.