A front Photo of the faous landmark of Burma, incredible look of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar). (Myanmar)

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar, Segment One

The 98 metres tall, with the use of over 30 tons* of glittering gold sheets, another source states it has 5,448 diamonds, 2,317 Rubies used in its construction and decoration over the years, Shwedagon Pagoda is a major landmark in the capital city of Yangon, Myanmar. Along with the at Phra Kaeo (or Keow or more popular referred as "The temple of Emerald Buddha" in Bangkok), both can be easily regarded as the most spectacular Buddhist shrines in Asia. Graceful and prominent even from miles away, the entire structure of the Shwedagon Pagoda dominates the city as it is located at hilltop site. The center dome of the Pagoda which forms the core of the entire development was reputedly built dating back to over 2000 years old. I would not like to believe it was 2500 years as the local suggested as the Buddhist calendar is 2548 now (as at 2005). According to legend, the original stupa was built to enshrine eight of Buddha's hairs which was placed at the central dome. The development of the entire Shwedagon Pagoda and its nearby temples and pagadas of smaller scales and an assortment of Buddhist religious statues, shrines & pavilions. According to legend, the Shwedagon went through a round of major renovation back in 1769.

* refer to next page for traceable source in the usage of gold & other precious metals/stones. 30 tons was more like an assumption based on local belief.

Scale of Human Figure at Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
One of the things I dislike while visiting Thailand was the "entrance fees" charged for foreign visitors into "major" temples (Chiangmai and many others don't). The Emerald Buddha was one that I missed during my numerous visits to Thailand. It is not the fees that matters, but the hurt feeling as a Buddhist. I would rather see them placing volunteering boxes for donation for the maintenance rather than seeing it as compulsory charges. That was how I still refuse to take a re-revist to Phra Keow all these years even I think it can be a good photographic topic. The Shwedagon Pagoda has adopted similar approach to visiting tourists. Although after seeing the illing economical status of the people on the streets, this is one place that I would happily settle the "bill" but during this trip to Myanmar, perhaps verbal misunderstanding and rudeness of a particular fees-collecting staff has spoilt my mood & the strong desire in entering the main section of Shwedagon Pagoda.

how tall exactly is 98 metres ? Here is a good scale with some human figure at the next entrance of the Shwedagon Pagoda

A grand picture of the Shwedagon Pagoda during daytime Shwedagon pagoda entrance main hall Photo of the Shwedagon pagoda  at the traffic light

So, I would think it as a personal regret for years to come for not be able to capture the ambient inside to show all of you. Anyway, the night before I left Yangon, perhaps after a few days of regaining senses, those anger that has infiltrated into my body system slowly dissolved, I took a late night outing again from the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel where I was staying, with the help of a group of incredibly friendly policemen who were on duty - they stopped the traffic just for me at the busy road junction to take a series of very high-res pictures of this incredible external view of the Shwedagon Pagoda. These guys even arranged a local cappie and argued the price and sent me back ! Thanks, pals whoever you are !


Update: 2006, the New Capital city of Myanmar will be Nay Pi Taw - according to sources, a relica of the Shewdagon with a slighter shorter height will be constructed at the new administrative capital.

Shwedagon Pagoda - segment One

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