This unusual pagoda northeast of Inya Lake was built by U Nu, the first prime minister of inde- pendent Burma, in the 1950s ahead of the Sixth Buddhist Synod. Enshrined inside its main temple are the relics of two of the Buddha’s principal disciples, presented to the Myanmar government by the British Museum, where they had been deposited in 1854 as war plun- der. Around 1,100 lb (500 kg) of silver was used in the creation of the central image in the inner shrine. Dozens more statues adorn the rest of the complex.
In the pagoda’s grounds, and also built for the Sixth Synod of 1954, is the Mahapasana Guha, a cavernous structure intended to resemble the cave in India where the First Buddhist Synod was convened shortly after the death of the historic Buddha, Gautama. It holds an enormous assembly hall capa- ble of accommodating 10,000 worshippers and is said to have been built by volunteers in only three days and nights.