The Origin of the Kyainge Tong Maha Myat Muni After many years had elapsed the news of the image spread from Rakhine to kyainge Tong. For the perpetuation and dissemination of the Buddha’s teachings, Sao Kawn Kaio Intaleng, the then chief ruler of Kyainge Tong called upon Art Yar Tum, the Patriarch of Wat Zaing Ngam, town elders and townspeople to assist him in his plan to have such an image cast for worship.
The Casting of the Buddha Image In 1282 of the Myanmar Era (1920 A.D.), Saophaloang Sao Kawn Kaio Intaleng sent two high-ranking officials in his service, U Pho Mein and U Banyar Pyar Wat to Mandalay to commission work on the image with bronze casters of Mandalay. Thus the Buddha image was cast in Mandalay in 1283ME (1921 A.D.) by skilled artisan U Tit and fellow workers. The face of the Image from the chin to the topmost part of the holy head was cast from a mixture of 1.7 viss ( 1 viss = 3.6 pounds) of pure gold, 17 viss of silver and some copper. The total cost was 15,000 colonial rupees. At the time the Takaw-Kyainge Tong road was merely a buffalo track, so the image had to be transported in separate parts. It was transported with great difficulty from Hsipaw to Takaw, a village situated on the western bank of the Thanlwin river by bullock cart, and from Takaw to Kyainge tong by buffalo cart. The people of the town were said to have turned out in full force to joyously welcome and pay homage amidst the rhythmic beating of gongs and the deep throated bonging of the Shan long drum. It was conveyed in procession around town and set up in residence at a thatched Vihara at Koang Kwai Zon, now the football ground in the town’s centre. It was kept in the temporary Vihara for over a year.
In 1926 the Buddha Image was moved from the temporary thatched Vihara to the present building. This new Vihara had a roof of teak wood shingles with a ceiling of thick planks. A brick wall was also built to enclose the precincts. In 1938, it was again renovated and the roof replaced with a splendid tapering nine-tiered roof. The inside walls were also elaborated with froral designs. The donor was the then Mahadevi of Kyainge Tong.
The History of Wat Zom Kham Pagoda
As vowed by Tunga Hermit and by means of the miracle of the staff the "Damila" lake got dried up. At that time the two dragon sisters went to the Tunga hermit with six strands of Buddha's holy hair and supplicated as ordered by Lord Buddha. The four hermits headed by Tunga hermit and another hermit from Kengtung valley altogether five hermits, then built a pagoda on "Zom Sarng or Zom Kham" hill top, in which the six hstrands Buddha's holy hair were enshrined to be worshipped by all beings. It was built in 157 B.E. The base of the Pagoda was 3 fathoms and two cubits and the heigh was 5 fathoms. The pagoda was called "Zom Sarng Pagoda" after the name of the hill "Zom Sarng".
The pagoda built by Tunga hermit collapsed or toppled for several times and it has been renovated for many times. As insripted on the authentic stone inscription it was found that due to the natural phenomena such as storm, earthquake etc. The pagoda collapsed in 853 ME. (Myanmar Era). It was then left in a state of ruin for about eighteen years without renovation work.
Until the full moon of 12th mont (October) 871 ME the pagoda emitted an unsual torch of brillient light of various hues that suffused and brilliantly lit the whole of Kengtung city for the first time. Because of this remarkable event the local populace were aroused with good will and renovation work was duly performed. Adhikya Raja, Sao Pha Loang of Kentung and presiding monk, Buddharakkhita Mahathera along with the local residents carried out the Pagoda renovation work for the first time. The base of the Pagoda was then six fathoms and its height was thirteen fathoms.
In 881 ME on the full moon day of 12th month, at dawn this pagoda again emitted a torch of brilliant light which brightened the whole of Kengtung city for the second time. Seeing this torch of brilliant light a young man from "Zom-Vo" quarter with Venerable Presiding monk, Dhammarakkhita Mahathera and the local populace renovated the pagoda for the second time. Its summit was then made of copper. The base was then ten fathoms ant its height was twenty fathoms.
On the full moon night of 12th month in 1259 ME, the pagoda again emitted a torch of briliant light for the third time which made the whole of Kengtung city aglow. During this time Sao Intaleng, Sao Pha Loang of Kengtung with the entire people again did the meritorious deeds of repairing the Pagoda. While the pagoda was under repair, a severe earthquake toppled the pagoda in 1266 ME. This was the third time of renovation work.
The pagoda was renovated again for the fourth time in 1267 ME and completed in 1296 ME with a ceremony of libation. The base at this time was 28 1/2 feet and its height was 126 feet.
The fifth renovation work was performed on the 13th day of 3rd month in 1313 ME (January 24, 1951) by Sao Sai Loang, local Sanghas and Kengtung people. The renovation work took 6 years and 5 months to complete. In 2500 BE, a ceremony of libation was held at the completion of the renovation work. The base was 84 feet and its height was 226 feet. The Chanko or its top was made of gold. From that day onward it was called "Wat Zom Kham Pagoda" up to this present day.
Formally, the Chanko , that is, the top most part was made of copper, so it was called "Wat Zom Tong". "Tong" in Khun language means copper.
After many years have elesped the copper top of the pagoda was then replaced by a gold plated to which is now called "Wat Zom Kham" after the name of gold. "Kham" in Khun language means gold. The Diamond Bud or Chanko was again repaired, inlaid with gold, silver, diamond, and varities of precious stones or gems. It was then called "Wat Zom Kham Pagoda". The base was 84 feet and its height was 226 feet.
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