Myanmar got its name the golden land due to the golden glittering pagodas around the whole country. Among the pagodas, the Shwedagon Pagoda is ranked as one of the world wonders because of its famed genuine gold offering by the devotees. The Shwedagon Pagoda is also known as the Shwedagon Zedi Daw, which is situated in Yangon, Myanmar. At 167 feet above sea level, the Pagoda stands sublimely among metropolitan constructions. The Shwedagon Pagoda itself has 326 feet(99metres) height while the entire pagoda compound covers an area of 114 acres.

As the very rare relics of the four previous Buddhas were enshrined in the Shwedagon Pagoda, it is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. The legend said the Pagoda was constructed more than 2,600 years ago while it was built by the Mon people between the 6th and 10th centuries AD according to the historians and archaeologists. Attaching with traditional rivets, the plinth of the stupa is made of bricks which are covered with genuine gold plates. The ancient Mon Queen Shin Saw Bu(Binnya Thau) donated gold in her weight to the pagoda which led the practice to go on for the monarchs of  history and devotees across Myanmar. The various parts of the Pagoda include Terraces, Bell, Turban Band, Floral Design, Inverted Alms Bowl, Mid-fruit, Lotus Petals, Banana Bud, Umbrella Crown, Vane and the topmost, the Diamond Bud. The Diamond Bud was tipped with a 15 gram(76 carat) diamond while the crown contains 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies.

A pair of giant leogryphs statue lies at the four entrances. For a comfortable visit, there are not only sets of escalators at the western zaungdan(covered walkways) but also elevators at the eastern, northern and southern entrances. If you are interested in astrology, the fortune tellers are available in the Pagoda compound. Locals pray the site that represents the day they were born and worship the Buddha with flowers, coloured flags, incense sticks, candles and streamers.

The Pagoda has a small museum holding Buddha images and religious ornaments. You can take a look to a close-up snap of the wonderful stupa at the photo gallery. At the Bell Pavilion, a centuries-old 23 tons heavy bell cast can be observed. Another Pavilion hosts a 9-metre-tall sitting Buddha image wearing a golden robe. The replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda is located in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar whilst another replica of the Pagoda was found in Lumbini Natural Park, North Sumatra of Indonesia.

Unfortunately, like other ancient pagodas in Myanmar, the Shwedagon Pagoda experienced the severe quakes and had to be rebuilt many times. The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is one of the most famous festivals in the country and is celebrated from the new moon day of Tabaung to full moon day of that month according to Myanmar traditional calendar. From most of the city area, it is amazing to see the main stupa encircled by 64 smaller stupas. At night, the spotlights around the stupa make the Pagoda more magnificent and will catch the visitors’ attention.

It is said that a tour to Myanmar is incomplete without a visit to the grand Shwedagon Pagoda as it is the heart of Myanmar as well as the historical site of the golden land.

Written By,

Ms.Nyein Chan Htwe