Wednesday, October 03, 2007

OUR TRASURES: The Shwe Dagon Pagoda

One of Southeast Asia’s grandest treasures and the world’s most precious pagoda – the Shwe Dagon in Yangon is literally studded with diamonds, rubies, and precious stones and entirely covered in pure gold. It is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful structures.

The main stupa is 326 feet high sitting on a hill 168 feet above the city – The lower part is covered with 8,688 solid gold plates and the upper part with another 13,153. The tip (topmost) of the stupa is studded with 5,448 diamonds; 2,317 rubies, sapphires, and other gems; 1,065 golden bells and, at the very top, a single 76-carat diamond.

The origins of Shwe Dagon are lost in antiquity; nobody knows how old it is. Long before the pagoda was built, its location was already an ancient sacred site because of the buried relics of the three previous Buddhas. According to one legend... nearly 5000 years had passed since the last Buddha walked the Earth, and the site would soon lose its blessedness unless it was re-consecrated with relics of a new Buddha (Gautama Buddha) -- 4 strands of hair of the last Buddha are enshrined here.

There are 4 entrances leading into the base of this great pagoda. No one is sure what’s inside. According to some legend, there are flying and turning swords that never stop, which protect the pagoda from intruders; some says there are even underground tunnels that lead to Bagan and Thailand.

The kings of Burma throughout history maintained the beauty of this pagoda. Each succeeding king made it higher and donated their weight in gold! It’s most notable restorer is Burma’s only recorded queen in history -- Queen Shinsawbu. She loved this place so much that when she was dying, her bed was positioned so that the last thing she see is this magnificent pagoda.

The Shwe Dagon complex is located at Shwe Dagon Road, Yangon and opens as early as 4am. Foreign tourists should pay around $5 and please remember to take off your socks and shoes upon entering the sacred grounds. Pilgrims from all over Burma come here to visit and meditate.

Southeast Asia's precious treasure --
the Shwe Dagon of Burma.


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travelphilippines said...


Erick Lau said...

I've seen this place 2 years ago and it was really awesome. My jaw dropped on the floor!

eyron said...

very enticing...

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