|Photo shows gilt footprint of Lord Buddha at Mann Shwesettaw Pagoda|
|Pilgrims take a bath at Mann Creek|
( Kyaw Swa - Yadanarbon )
Arrangements are being made for holding this year’s Buddha Pujaniya festival of Mann Shwesettaw Pagoda. On the full moon day which falls during the Buddha Pujaniya festival, about 400,000 pilgrims visit and pay homage to the pagoda, according to the Board of Trustees of Mann Shwesettaw Pagoda.
The Buddha Pujaniya of the pagoda is organized from 5th Waxing of Tabodwe, Myanmar Era to the New Year Day annually. This year, the festival will last from 13 February to 17 April.
The pagoda board of trustees started preparations on 3 December 2015 for holding the festival with allotment of shops in front of the Lower Settawya (footprint of the Lord Buddha) and along the bank of Mann Creek. They have plans to complete land preparations, land allotment and construction of shops, proper flow of water in Mann Creek, and construction of bath places on the bank of the creek in January, according to the pagoda board of trustees.
It was reported that floral-designed structures of the lower Settawya was flooded due to heavy rains in last July. Although the floods caused some damage to the structures, officials could repair them in time. Water course of the creek is being maintained with the use of heavy machinery. Moreover, small bridges have been laid on the creeks.
The pagoda board of trustees has spent K1.2 million on use of two backhoes, two bulldozers and one tractor so as to complete preparatory tasks for the festival in time. Officials will allot 420 shops, 415 lodges and 69 sheds for departmental management.
The terrace of Moksoetaung Pagoda, upstream of the Upper Settawya, is being expanded to a 20 square feet area for more convenience of public visits. As such, the terrace will admit larger number of pilgrims this year than the past.
The board of trustees is building an arch at the 3rd-Mile junction leading to the pagoda and Mann Shwesettaw Sasana Beikman by spending K900 million. Therefore, members of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee can stay at the Sasana Beikman conveniently during the Buddha Pujaniya.
Pilgrims and devotees across the nation eagerly visit the pagoda and festival yearly. Villagers go to the pagoda by bullock-cart. Vendors from four corners sell domestic products at the festival.
In fact, Mann Shwesettaw festival held in the jungle, a significant one in Myanmar, attracts pilgrims, merchants, picnickers, vendors and local people. According to the historical records, genuine footprints of the Lord Buddha are located at the Mann Settawya Pagoda, Minbu (Sagu) Township, Magway Region.
The Mann Shwesettaw Pagoda, enshrined with the footprints of the Lord Buddha, is a heritage of Myanmar. As the festival of the pagoda is held for many days, it is called Anyar region festival. Mann Shwesettaw Pagoda is 33 miles from Minbu which is 330 miles distance from Yangon and 280 miles from Mandalay. The road from 3rd-Mile junction to the pagoda can be used from January to April. In the remaining period, pilgrims may visit the pagoda along an 8-mile road section from Padaung Village.
The visitors may also pay homage to Kyaungdawya Pagoda (ancient Pyu region), ancient pagodas and stupas in Bagan-Nyaung U, Mount Popa, and Myathalun Pagoda in Magway. In addition, the visitors from Myathalun Pagoda in Magway may continue their trips to Kalaw, Inlay and Taunggyi through Natmauk- Ywamon-Pyawbwe road. Furthermore, they may wonder Pyay, Thandwe (Ngapali) and Pathein (Chaungtha) through Pathein-Monywa highway.
At present, pilgrims make a day trip to Mann Shwesettaw Pagoda. During the festival, visitors may purchase souvenirs and other domestic products for their homes. On Akya Day of Myanmar Traditional Maha Thingyan Festival, pilgrims and local residents offer rice to 108 members of the Sangha at the pagoda on a grand scale.
On the Myanmar New Year Day, the footprints of the Lord Buddha are placed under a glass cover by senior venerable monks and officials of the pagoda board of trustees.
According to the officials, accommodation will be given not only to local pilgrims but to the tourists.
ရတနာပံုေန႔စဥ္ ၊ စာ(၁၃)