|1 hours 30 mins|
|06:00 AM - 10:00 PM|
Temple & Monument
Shwedagon Pagoda is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
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Why Shwedagon Pagoda is special ?
The Shwedagon Pagoda reached its current height only in 1774. After being rebuilt several times by King Hsinbyushin, it reached the height of 99 meters above the plate. At the same time the Shwedagon Pagoda started looking the way it looks now.
All sixty-eight surrounding stupas are gilded, while the Shwedagon itself is sheathed with golden plates from top to bottom. 8000 gold plates, 5000 diamonds, 2000 gem stones and semiprecious stones were used to decorate the main pagoda.
So it's not surprising that the stupa was repeatedly plundered over the years, and some parts, like three hundred years old bell encrusted with jewels, are now lost. However, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar has survived to see our days in its full glory.
There are bells hanging along the perimeter of the temple complex with wooden mallets lying nearby. It is believed that if you make a wish and hit the bell three times it will come true. So here and there you can always hear a bell's ringing in the distance.
This Myanmar landmark represents this country like the Moscow Kremlin represents Russia, or Mount Fuji represets Japan. The Shwedagon temple complex is one of the largest architectural ensembles not only in Myanmar, but in all of Southeast Asia. You can always see the golden cone of the central stupa dozens of kilometers away from Yangon, both from sea and land.
What to explore at Shwedagon Pagoda?
The great Schwedagon Pagoda stands on a platform covering over 5 hectares on a hill 58m above sea level. It can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city, and the citizens of Yangon literally live out their everyday lives in its shadow.
There are four covered walkways that lead up to the pagoda's platform. Both the southern and northern entrances have the choice of an elevator or stairs; the western entrance has escalators instead of stairs and is the only entrance without vendors. The eastern stairway has the most authentic ambience, as it passes monasteries and vendors selling monastic necessities.
The southern entrance, from Schwedagon Paya Road, is the closest thing to the main entrance and is guarded by two 18-foot-high chinthe (mythical lion-dragons). You must remove your shoes and socks before you climb the stairs.
The steps are lined with shops selling flowers (both real and paper) for offerings, as well as Buddha images, incense, antiques and other items. Despite the vendors, the walkway is cool and quiet, which only increases the impact of bright sun and overwhelming color as you step onto the platform at the top.
The platform is full of glittering, colorful stupas, but the huge main stupa is the center of attention for most pilgrims. A mat pathway has been laid around it to protect visitors' bare feet from burning on the hot marble platform. The stupa is completely solid, every inch is covered in gold, and the upper parts are studded with diamonds totaling over 2,000 carats.
The main stupa is supported on a square plinth that stands 6.4m (20 feet) above the platform, setting it apart from the other stupas. On this raised platform are smaller stupas: large ones on the four cardinal directions, medium ones at the four corners, and 60 small ones around the perimeter. With the permission of the pagoda trustees, men may climb up onto the plinth terrace, which is about 6m wide, to meditate.
Rising from the base are three terraces, then octagonal sections, then five circular bands. Together these parts add up to 30 m (90 feet) in height and make the transition from the square base to the round elements above. The stupa's great bell is covered in gold leaf which is regilded every year. The shoulder of the bell is decorated with 16 "flower" shapes.
The bell is topped by an "inverted bowl" and above this are the moldings and "lotus petals" - a band of down-turned petals followed by a band of up-turned petals. The final element of the stupa itself is the "banana bud," which is covered with 13,153 plates of gold (as opposed to the gold leaf of the lower sections), each measuring 30 sq cm.
Topping the stupa is the spectacular hti (spire decoration), which has seven tiers. Made of iron and covered in gold plates, the hti weighs well over a ton. To this is added gold bells, silver bells and various jewelry. The highest tier carries a flag and turns with the wind. It gold-plated and silver-plated and studded with 1100 diamonds that total 278 carats, plus 1383 other precious stones.
At the very top of the spire is the diamond orb - a hollow gold sphere studded with 4351 diamonds totalling 1800 carats. On the very tip rests a single, 76-carat diamond.
The large platform that supports the great stupa contains a variety of other stupas, prayer halls, sculptures and shrines. A number of these are associated with eight "days" (Wednesday is divided into morning and afternoon), based on one's day of birth. Each has an associated planet, direction and animal sign, as shown in the table below. FYI, the Buddha was born on Wednesday morning.
How to get to Shwedagon Pagoda?
The Shwedagon Pagoda is located in downtown Yangon on Shwedagon Pagoda Road on Singuttara Hill, Dagon township, just West of Kandawgyi Lake. A taxi from the downtown are to the pagoda should cost some US$ 3 - 4. Agree on the price first, often the meter will not be used.
- Amazing spiritual place
- Night visit is a must
- A truely spiritual experience
- One of the wonders of this world
- Beautiful and rich architecture
Dagon Yangon Myanmar
Tips for you
Extraordinary temple in Yangon, which is the most important temple in the country, dating back centuries. We spent several hours there, observing the temple's sculptures, individual temples within the main temple grounds and the temple's daily use as a place of pilgrimage. This is a MUST SEE if making a trip to Myanmar!
Superb scenic views & its spectacular architecture. A historic temple must visit when in Yangon especially if you're a Buddhist