Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon)
There are ‘big 3’ Buddhist sites in Yangon, and Shwedagon Paya is the most popular.
The golden stupa rise 325 feet (99 meters) from its base, surrounded with many other gilded temples.
The structure dominates Yangon cityscape and viewable from many part of the city. The picture above was the view from the roof top of our hotel.
Many tourists like to visit the temple in the late afternoon for 2 reasons:
a) the marble floor is cooler in the evening
b) to admire the sunset view, especially view from the North Gate
We walked from Kan Daw Gyi Lake, passing by a street full of vendors before ascending via the gallery walkway.
I noticed the major Buddhist temples in Myanmar have symmetric 4-sided entrances. Those built on a hilly slope often have roofed staircase. Some of galleries to depict story related to the establishment of the temple.
If you arrive around 5pm, you could witness an interesting formation of ‘human sweepers’. Rows of ladies having a broom on each hand, sweeping the marble floor around the stupa in clockwise direction.
note: one should remove shoe and walk in clockwise direction in any temple. If you plan to exit to different entrance, carry your shoe in a recycling bag.
Entrance fee is USD5 or 8,000 Kyats (paying in Kyat is cheaper because 1USD is around 856 Kayts). In some other temple, it could be cheaper to pay in USD (so remember to bring some smaller USD notes).
Tourists are allowed to take photographs but as a general rules, visitors should not interfere or disturb the rituals and activities.
One could spend 2-3 hours in Shwedagon because there are a lot of temples in the compound.
If you only have time to visit one temple in Myanmar, I think Shwedagon could be a good choice.
If you are on a 30 days trip in Myanmar, you are likely to have visited 50 to 100 temples, then you may scream for time-out. It is the same as visiting too many churches or masjids in a short period of time.
We made Shwedagon Pagoda the first destination of our trip to Myanmar, so everything was interesting.
As a 2,500 years old site, Shwedagon Pagoda is indeed one of wonders in the religious world.
Quote from the entrance ticket:
“The ‘Hti’, the ‘Hngetmana’ and the ‘Seinbu’ are decorated enlaid with 3,154 gold bells, 79,569 diamonds and other precious stones.”
Any reason for not visiting Shwedagon Pagoda?