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This ‘early offering shrine’ is the most important of the temples on Sagaing Hill’s Southern Crown and the first you’ll come to on climbing the southern stairway. Its central 97ft-high gilded stupa was originally built in 1312. Legends claim that the structure magically appeared overnight, built by the king’s faithful minister Ponya in a superhuman flurry of activity inspired by a magical Buddha relic that he’d found in a betel-nut box. The myth fancifully claims that Ponya himself was of supernatural parentage, his father having ‘flown’ to Sagaing from the Himalayas millennia before, arriving to a curious communion with the Buddha, seven hermits and a flower-bearing orangutan. Burmese genealogy is never boring
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