Three famous pagodas adorn the Mawlamyine Ridge. The Kyaik-thanlan pagoda was erected in 875 A.D. during the reign of King Mutpi Raja. A hair relic of the Buddha. Tripitaka manuscripts and gold images of the Buddha were enshrined in the pagoda. Successive kings raised the pagoda higher. from 56 feet to the present 150 feet. The present base of the pagoda is 450 feet in circumference. There are 34 small pagodas called Zediyan surrounding the pagoda. A lift has now been installed for easy access.
Kyaik in Mon language means a Cedi or Stupa The pagoda was repaired by King Anawrahta. founder of the Bagan Dynasty. and later enlarged by Mon kings. especially King Wagaru of Mottama in 1538 A.D. On the Platform can be seen a big bell with a medieval Mon inscription and also another bell with a quaint inscription in English. dated 30th March 1885: ” This bell made by Koonalenga. the priest. and weight 500 viss. No one body design to destroy this bell.” There is also a memorial to the famous Thingaza Sayadaw who passed away in Mawlamyine in 1900.
Kyaik-than-lan was the pagoda that the famous English poet Rudyard kipling wrote about in his poem “Mandalay” which opens with the line: By the old Moulmein Pagoda. lookin lazy at the sea”.