The Dhammazedi Bell

Juxtaposing the many attempts to recover the legendary largest bell in the world and the story of modern Myanmar and its forthcoming November 2015 elections.

Legend has it that the largest bell in the world rests at the bottom of a Myanmar river. Cast by King Dhammazedi in the 1400s the great bell was said to be made of bronze and weigh 200 tons. Two hundred years after it was cast, the bell was stolen by a Portuguese general from where it hung at Yangon's golden Schwedagon Pagoda. He rolled it onto a raft and tried to sail it across the wide Bago river. But as the raft crossed the river the great bell rolled off sinking down to the bottom of the riverbed where it has remained submerged for the last 400 years.

Myths have grown up around the bell. Does a green dragon spirit protect it? Will it only rise again when the right leader comes to power? And do those who try to take the bell always come to great harm? November 2015 sees the freest general elections in Myanmar of its 50 years of military dictatorship. As the parties scramble to convince their people to vote for them is now the right time for the giant bell to rise?

The Dhammazedi Bell juxtaposes the story of the bell and its many rescue attempts with the modern story of Burma and its forthcoming election.

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30 minutes

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Binaural sound

What is it and why does it matter?

Podcast