Shwedagon Pagoda


Also found in: Wikipedia.
Enlarge picture
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.

Sources:

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 ?
The hotel will be surrounded by embassies, shopping centers, restaurants, international business offices, and within a short distance to top tourist attractions including the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda, parks and garden lakes, as well as the heritage buildings and vibrant night markets of downtown Yangon.
From crumbling colonial buildings to gleaming Buddhist pagodas, the buildings do not disappoint - the most impressive of all being the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda, especially at sunset when it shines like liquid gold.
Ito ay makikita sa templo ng Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Borobudur (Indonesia), sa Ayuthaya at Sukhotai (Thailand) at Shwedagon Pagoda (Myanmar).
More impressive is the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's holiest site -- and most iconic sight -- a 99-meter tall monument which dominates the city's skyline from atop Singuttara Hill.
The place could be Indo-China where Myanmar's Shwedagon Pagoda and Thailand's temples and palaces blaze with gold.
The President and First Lady will also pay a visit to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in the city.
Their first destinations were Shwedagon Pagoda, a major Buddhist relic and Bogyoke Market.
Burma's most iconic Buddhist monument, Shwedagon Pagoda, has a fund of nearly 70 billion kyat (US$52 million) sitting in a bank account, earning yearly interest of up to 4bn kyat, according to the Yangon Minister for Social Welfare Naingan Lin.
If your time is limited and would like to stick to Yangon, you can always opt to visit the 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda where you can light up to 1,000 candles during sundown, take the Yangon Circular Train, and shop for jade and other souvenirs at the Bogyoke Aug San Market.
The team will also conduct football clinics with Myanmar Football Federation academies in Yangon and Mandalay and visit cultural sites including Shwedagon Pagoda and the Maha Myat Muni Pagoda, the club said in a statement.
The tour, which will also see Leeds hold football clinics and PR visits to landmarks including Yangon's Shwedagon pagoda,already stirred controversy.
Covering 2,700 square miles - about four times the size of London - it features a 20-lane avenue, multiple golf courses and a replica of Yangon's famous golden Shwedagon Pagoda. Yet, its wide streets are mostly empty, as relatively few live there.