You can see it from almost everywhere in the city, as the golden dome of Shwedagon Pagoda towers above almost anything else in the city, nearly 100 metres above its base. You probably pass it on your way from the airport to the city, and even without knowing anything about it, you feel admiration for this enormous building that imposes itself on the skyline of the city. Not only is it an inevitable sight for visitors, it is also considered the most sacred of Buddhist monuments in the country.
Then, almost without planning to, you walk the city, and find yourself drawn to this colossal building. There are several more modest payas or pagodas in the neighbourhood, and then you end up at the base of the giant. When you are up, you realize how many local visitors there are, all devoted, all there with a mission. For many of them, this is not just a visit to an imposing pagoda, but a pilgrimage, a highly sacred place. According to legend, it is some 2500 years old, but in reality it is more likely to date from somewhere between the 6th and 10th century. Much later gilding of the stupa began.
The gold is overwhelming, not just the main stupa is gold, but the surrounding shrines, temples, and small pavillions. Some classical, but behind many a Buddha statue, you can see modern flashing lights to add to the overkill of sensations for your senses. A visit is best early in the morning or in the late afternoon, when the reflection of the light is less bright. Looking up at the stupa, and barely visible for the eye, are the thousands of diamonds that decorate the pinnacle of the impressive building. All around, on the marble floor, behind many of the small corners of this vast complex, you can see Buddhists, praying, admiring, meditating.
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Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Shwedagon Pagoda (Myanmar). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Shwedagon Pagoda. Read more about this site.