Bournemouth [England] : London:
F.J. Bright and Son ; Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co., Ltd,
Text on page 317
and the top was composed of beams of lead five inches square. This device is said to have been the king's own. It is no wonder then that what was finished of the pagoda collapsed with such disastrous results when the great earthquake of 1839 took place.
The Burmese represent that endless and priceless treasures were deposited in the chambers, but Cox, who was an eyewitness, tells us that most of the gifts were very inferiora images, said to have been of gold and silver, but which on closer inspection proved to be a less valuable metal, marble images, plated models of pagodas and kyaungs, sheets of coloured glass, white umbrellas, and a soda-water machine !
After many years had been spent on its construction, and it had reached one-third of the proposed height, the work was suddenly abandoned in consequence it is said of a prediction of the pnnas or Brahmins of the court, who foretold that when the pagoda was finished the king would die. In this unfinished state it lies to the present day, a hideous mass of unsightly ruin. It covers an area of about 450 feet square, and its total height is 162 feet, or one-third of the total height proposed.
The plinth consists of five successive low terraces, from the upper one of which, with sides of 230 feet, the cubical pile rises. Towards the top it contracts in successive terraces, and here the work ends.
The effects of the earthquake are plainly visible. The north-east corner has entirely collapsed, and masses of masonry like huge boulders lie about in endless confusion.
A somewhat slippery and dangerous footpath leads up this rent to the top of the ruin.
On each of the four sides are niches of enormous size, ornamented similarly to the throne, in which gigantic images would have been placed.
In a grove of trees near the ruin is a miniature of the structure, from which the intentions of the founder can be clearly seen.In a grove of trees near the ruin is a miniature of the structure, from which the intentions of the founder can be clearly seen.