Shwedagon Pagoda

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The Shwedagon Pagoda is a stupa in Yangon, Myanmar, that contains several hairs from Gautama Buddha, according to legend. It is one of the holiest and most beautiful of religious sites in the country. AFP/Getty Images.

Shwedagon Pagoda (Myanmar)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. It is a stupa whose golden dome rises 98 meters (321.5 feet) high, and is plated with 53 tons of gold. On its tope are 5,400 diamonds, together measuring some 2,000 carats. The pagoda is located in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital. Prior to the middle of the eighteenth century, Yangon was a small fishing village named Bagan. The British turned it into the capital of the country (then called Burma), in 1885. During the British era, which ended in 1948, it was known as Rangoon.

According to legend, Shwedagon Pagoda predates even the fishing village. In the fifth century BCE, just as the land was emerging out of prehistory, two Burmese merchants visited Gautama Buddha in India. They found him sitting under the Bodhi Tree, just 49 days after he attained Enlightenment. Buddha gave them eight strands of his hair, which the two men brought back with them to their homeland. In conjunction with the local ruler, they enshrined the hairs in a casket on Singuttara hill. Reportedly, there was already a shrine housing relics of three earlier enlightened ones. Over the shrine a stupa was erected. The whole complex of stupas and the monastic building have been greatly expanded since 1769.

Surrounding the central structure of the pagoda are four shrines for the principal Buddhas, and eight smaller shrines based on the signs of the Burmese zodiac. Surrounding these are numerous additional shrines and gold-covered towers. The pagoda complex is built in the typical Burmese Mon style, which includes four entrances facing the four compass points.

Also built in a similar style is Sule Paya, located in the city’s center. It is reputed to contain one of the original hairs of the Buddha brought back from India 2,500 years ago.


Aung, Myint, Thaung Wai, and U Kyi Win, eds. Shwedagon: Symbol of Strength and Serenity. Yangon, Myanmar: Yangon City Development Committee, 1997.
Moore, Elizabeth, Win Pe U, and Hansjörg Mayer. Shwedagon. Golden Pagoda of Myanmar. London: Thames & Hudson, 1999.
U, A. Than. Shwedagon. Rangoon: Government of Burma, 1957.
References in periodicals archive ?
Its 2016 Yangon Heritage Strategy recommended that the land be converted into public green space and avoid high-rise towers that would block views of Shwedagon Pagoda and other historic buildings.
Johnson was told off by the British ambassador to Myanmar when he recited the opening verse to Rudyard Kipling's The Road to Mandalay when he visited the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar's capital, Yangon.
Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred buddhist temple in Myanmar's capital Yangon.
Mr Johnson was said to have begun quoting the opening lines of Mandalay during a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the capital of Burma.
Summary: Yangon [Myanmar], September 7 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday arrived at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, one of the most revered sites in Myanmar, on the second day of his two-day visit to the country.
Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the countrys largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics that dates back to the 6th century.
Htun brought her costume on stage - a big backdrop depicting the tourist attractions in Myanmar, the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Bagan temples.
lt;BManager of English football champions Leicester City Claudio Ranieri takes a picture with his mobile phone camera ahead of Buddhist religious rituals at Shwedagon pagoda, considered as the holiest Buddhist shrine in Yangon, Myanmar, yesterday Gemunu Amarasinghe
We still had memories of a remote land peppered with pagodas and palaces, gracefully dancing fishermen, beguiling Buddhist nuns, and a moving ceremony lighting oil lamps at the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda as the sun set the colour of the monks' maroon robes.
The residence offers a total of 24 units that are divided into three categories including Studios and One and Two-Bedroom Residences with uninterrupted views of Yangon's famous Shwedagon Pagoda, just 1.
In a field in Burma's largest city, Rangoon, workers tested a giant digital countdown screen with the backdrop of the revered Shwedagon pagoda.