Sanda Muni Buddha Image is now located in Bandoola Monastery. of Mrauk U. During A.D 123. Gautama Buddha came to Mrauk U and from that time on. people started to believe in Buddhism and had beliefs in worshipping Buddha images and Pagodas.
A long time ago. King Sanda Thuriya reigned the Rakhine territory. When Gautama Buddha came to Mrauk U. the king begged for making of images as a symbol representing the real Buddha.
There were more jewelleries and gold left. so he made 5 more images known as (1) Sanda Muni (2) Kuja Muni (3) Sakkyar Muni (4) Deva Muni and (5) Sula Muni. These five images are also known as Maha Kyan Images. The Maha Muni was surrounded by these 5 images.
During the reign of King Saw Mon. he moved to Mrauk U as the capital. He took the Sanda Muni image along with him to Mrauk U. In 1852. lower Myanmar fell under the rulings of the British colony. The British took all the bronze images to melt and turn these into weapons. Since the people wear afraid that the Sanda Muni might be turned into weapons. they covered the image with concrete and left in the Bandoola Monastery. The British thought that this image was made of concrete and left it where it was.
It was April 27. 1988. Sunday. Sayadaw Ashin Sattkapalar was cleaning the floor in front of the image and suddenly an eye dropped down. The monk saw that the inner part was not made of concrete but of bronze metal.
So in May 19. 1988. the covered concrete of the Image was torn down and the real Sanda Muni Buddha Image was shown to public. The size of the image is 4 feet 10 inches high and 4 feet and 2 inches in width. This Buddha image became more and more popular with the localsAccording to records on inscriptions as King Minbin who reigned from 1513 to 1553. The king built this fortress-temple after repulsing a Portuguese attack on the City of Mrauk U.
The skill and art displayed in its construction and ornamentation are remarkable. Besides. we may observe here about the maze-like layout of this pagoda. In the accounts of this curious plan. some foreigners remarked that the Shitthaung Pagoda was built alike a fortress. The real purpose of the pagoda was for prayer. some rituals of initiation. and some of the King's ceremonies. which were usually held secretly. It was constructed six feet thick of solid sandstone and like "rock cave tunnel". No mortar was used in the construction and stones were connected with stone brackets. It is believed that 84.000 of the Buddha's relics with the same number of the Lord's images are enshrined in it. People who entered the tunnels of the temple felt that they were actually inside an endless tunnel. The pagodas had been built by one thousand architects and workmen for a year.
The central pagoda measures 160 feet long and 124 feet broad. 86 feet high. On the north and south walls stand at regular intervals circular. turret-like pagodas. There are one big and 14 smaller ones on the north and a bigger one and seventeen smaller ones on the south. Along the other two inner galleries are hundreds of Buddha images of various sizes.
The Shittaung Pillar is well-known and it is located just on the northern entrance of the Shittaung Pagoda. It is believed to have been brought from Vesali to Mrauk U. It was placed by King Minbin in 1535 A.D. The pillar was destroyed during the World War II. Now it has been renovated. The original pillar stands from 10 feet and each side is 2' 4" wide in surface. Three faces have Sanskrit Inscriptions and the other one was badly damaged. The pillar was made from red sandstone and decorated with double lotus petal motif at all the eight corners. The ancient petal pattern designs of the Mrauk U period can be seen on this pillar.