The search

As Jonah Fisher reports, some people doubt the bell ever existed, whilst others think the search is cursed

As Jonah Fisher reports, some people doubt the bell ever existed, whilst others think the search is cursed

The fate of the Dhammazedi Bell is one of Myanmar’s murkiest mysteries and for some Burmese a lifelong obsession. Four centuries after the world’s biggest bell was last seen, a new salvage attempt is under way in Yangon (Rangoon), and it’s attracting large crowds.

Cast in the 15th Century, the Dhammazedi Bell was according to popular legend placed alongside the gleaming gold Schwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar(also known as Burma).

Said to have been made of copper, gold and silver, the bell is said to have weighed nearly 300 tonnes (661,400 pounds).

It’s mindboggling figure, about the same as 25 double-decker buses.

Then in 1608 disaster struck.

The Portuguese adventurer and mercenary Filipe de Brito seized the bell with the aim of melting it down to make cannons.

The Dhammazedi Bell was said to be housed at the Schwedagon Pagoda before it was taken

The Tharawaddy Min bell is the biggest one at Schwedagon but is a fraction of the size of Dhammazedi

He had it dragged to the Pegu (now Bago) River and loaded on to a raft, at which point, not entirely surprisingly, it sank.

In the years that followed the legend of the bell has endured, and recovering it has become a point of both Buddhist and Burmese national pride.

There have been at least seven serious attempts in the last 25 years.

Some have involved international teams and sophisticated underwater equipment, but to date no one has been able to accurately pinpoint where the huge bell is.

That’s not diminished enthusiasm among the public.

Source: BBCNews Read and see more about the search

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