Shwedagon, the Land Mark of Myanmar
The Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon, the Land Mark of myanmar
The first sight that greets any traveler approaching Yangon by the air or by the sea is the Golden Shwedagon pagoda. It is as if the Shwedagon is greeting the traveler with the message, “This is the land of Myanmar”.
The Shwedagon pagoda is situated at Yangon, the commercial city of Myanmar. It stands on the crest of Singuttara hill which is above 190 feet above sea level. Due to the repeated renovations by the successive donars, the height of pagoda is now 326 feet from the base to the diamond bud. (The original height of the stupa was just 66 feet.) There are 64 smaller cetis surrounding the main stupa and fairly large ones at the archways of four cardinal points. The diamond bud on the apex of the stupa is decorated with 4351 diamonds. Most interesting, the entire edifice from base to top is gilded; this shows the generosity of the nation.
The history of Shwedagon as gleaned from the chronicles of Mon and Myanmar and the pagoda records_Tapussa and Balika, two merchant brothers went on a trading expedition to Majjmadesa where Gautama Buddha was currently staying. The two brothers went to Buddha and paid homage and presented offerings. Then the Lord Buddha accepted the offerings and had his repast after which he preached a sermon to Tapussa and Balika on the Dhamma (Law). Before their return, Lord Buddha gave eight hairs from his head to two brothers. King Okkalapa rejoiced of the arrival of the Sacred hairs and then he enshrined the Sacred hairs of Gautama Buddha together with the relics of three antecedent Buddhas. The time of enshrinement was on Wednesday, the full moon day of Dabaung (March), in the year of 103 of the Myanmar calendar.
The Shwedagon is also one of the best places to learn about Myanmar culture. All of the cetis, buildings, the stairways, the archways and the Buddha images epitomize that is Myanmar_ her culture, her tradition and of course her warm and cheerful people.At the gate of pagoda, you’ll see the two big lion statues which are considered as the guardians of the pagoda (you can see this kind of lion statues at most of the pagodas in Myanmar. On the pagoda, you can see people pouring water to Buddha images at eight planetary posts, ringing the bells to share their merits. People who are meditating, worshipping, and those who are in colorful traditional costumes can be seen every spot on the pagoda. One place that shouldn’t miss on the pagoda is a big bell donated by the King Sint Ku.
Though there are elevators and escalators at all four entrances to the pagoda, I prefer using the stairways, gazing all the souvenir shops around and watching the people in beautiful traditional costumes. If you are about to visit this pagoda, I’d like to suggest you to use the Eastern and Southern stairways which have more cheap souvenir shops.Most of the souvenir shops sell pretty handicrafts, cute little toys for the kids, Myanmar’s mascots which are a couple of owls meaning to good luck and prosperity and silverwares and jade wares. And be sure not to forget to buy some primitive handicrafts for your friends!
Some Important Things for Tourists
There are some things that tourist should be aware of. The entry fees for a tourist is 8 US$ and doesn’t need to pay the registration fees for the cameras. There is a free Wi-Fi service for the tourists also. No foot wares are allowed on the pagoda. No shorts are allowed, so be sure to wear long pants. Travelers can visit this pagoda the whole year round. The best time to visit the pagoda is the early morning when you can feel the cool breeze and the sound of jingling bells and the evening when all the cetis on the pagoda are decorated with colorful neon lights.
To explore cultures, to feel the peace and tranquility, to meet the interesting people and their cheerful smiles the Shwedagon is the first and a must place to visit in Myanmar.
This is my first hub. Thanks for your time!