This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Autumn – Metal.
The Maha Gandha (“Great Sound”) Bell was donated to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar by King Singu Min on January 17, 1779. At 7 feet tall and 6.6 feet in diameter at the mouth, this cast bronze bell weighs at least 23 tons.
The twelve lines of inscription on the bell describe King Singu.
During the First Burma War (First Anglo-Burmese War), in 1825, the British attempted to remove the Singu Bell as war booty, but lost it in the Irrawaddy when the boat carrying it sank. This is a photo of a painting on a wall near the bell, showing a dock collapsing under the weight of the bell. The painting is dated 1987 (original painting) and 2014 (restored).
Although British engineers could not raise the bell after several attempts, the Burmese used bamboo to raise it to the surface, then tow and drag it back to its original place in Shwedagon Pagoda. This is a photo of a painting on the same wall, showing Burmese workers as they pull the bell ashore. This painting is also dated 1987 (original painting) and 2014 (restored).
However, the bell was damaged during its removal and return, and its “great sound” is now silent.
(There are several versions of this story, with slightly different details. We have chosen the version told above.)