Screenshot from Myanmar Focus Daily: The Life of Myanmar Tycoon Khin Shwe
Khin Shwe, a well-known Tycoon in Myanmar, has made a sensational announcement: He is going to salvage the greatest bell of the world, that has sunken into Yangon River more than 400 years ago, reports irrawaddy.org. Khin Shwe told the local journal Snapshot on Monday: “We’ve already hired big ships to salvage the bell. After that — if we can salvage the bell — we will put it on display at Shwedagon Pagoda.”
The legendary bell is believed to be the largest bell that has ever been cast (see depiction). This was done in 1484 by order of King Dhammazedi. He gave the bell as a present to the Shwedagon Pagoda of Dagon (today's Yangon). According to historical texts the bell was cast of 294 tonnes of metal (silver, gold, copper and tin). But in 1608 the Portuguese warlord Filipe de Brito e Nicote, after having sacked the towns of Syriam (now known as Thanlyin) and Pegu (now known as Bago) and extended his power across the Bago River to Dagon, removed the Dhammazedi bell from the Shwedagon Pagoda. His men rolled it down Singuttara Hill to a raft. It should be transported to Syriam. There it should be melted down to produce ships cannons. But the load was two heavy: at the confluence of the Bago and Yangon Rivers, the raft broke up and the bell went to the bottom of the river.
Khin Shwe, who plans now to salvage the Great Bell of Dhammazedi, is the chairman of Zay Kabar Company and a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) Lower House MP. His company is one of the largest property developers in Myanmar. Earlier efforts to salvage the bell have not succeeded. In July 2010 the Australian documentary film maker Damien Lay reported that “an object was detected by sonar and is only slightly visible above the river floor that is likely to be the King Dhammazedi Bell”. Many people believe that the restoration of the bell to the pagoda will bring good fortune to Myanmar. Khin Shwe is working together with the abbot of the Kyaik Htee Saung Pagoda. And this has a very special reason. He said: “King Dhammazedi was born on a Tuesday and so is the abbot of Kyaik Htee Saung. So, I’m 100 percent confident that this project will be a success.” See a video: The Life of Myanmar Tycoon Khin Shwe.