Kuthodaw Pagoda, Home of the World’s Largest Book

It's known as the world's largest book. But it doesn't look much like any book you've seen before.
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
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It’s known as the world’s largest book. But it doesn’t look much like any book you’ve seen before.

Each of the 729 “pages” is a large marble tablet inscribed with text from the Tipitaka (some of the Buddhist scriptures). The text was originally in gold, but it has long since weathered away. Each page is housed in its own individual white stupa. They radiate out in concentric squares from a central golden stupa. From the air, it looks like a remarkably uniform above-ground cemetery.

The main stupa is modeled after the 11th-century Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, near Bagan. But this one is much newer, dating back to the 1860s during the reign of King Mindon.

Photos of Kuthodaw Pagoda

Tablets of the World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
A close-up of part of one of the pages etched in marble. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa of Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Main Entrance of Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
The main entrance to the compound. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Rows of small white stupas, each containing a page of the book, run in concentric squares radiating from the large golden central stupa. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Main Entrance of Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
As is traditional, each stupa is topped with a hti, or umbrella (or crown). Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Tablets of the World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Another of the marble tablets. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
A covered walkway from the main entrance to the interior of the complex. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa of Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
The large central gold stupa. It’s modeled on the much older Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa of Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa of Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gold Stupa of Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
The hti on top of the central stupa. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Kyauksa Gu for World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
## What To Know Before You Go

Kuthodaw Pagoda is located at the foot of Mandalay Hill and not far from Shwenandaw Golden Palace Monastery.

It’s the site of a major festival in the October full moon as people gather and light candles in the grounds.

Yep, you guessed it: you’ll have to take your shoes off as with any Buddhist holy site.

Map

Where to Next?



Travel Advice for Myanmar (Burma)

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Myanmar (Burma) (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Myanmar (Burma) here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Myanmar (Burma) here.

Guidebooks for Myanmar (Burma)

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Myanmar (Burma). Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

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The Rough Guide to Myanmar (Burma) (Travel Guide) (Rough Guides)
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The Rough Guide to Myanmar (Burma) (Travel Guide) (Rough Guides)
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Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Myanmar (Burma)

I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.

But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.

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Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!

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