Shwedagon Pagoda - History, Architecture and Temple

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The Shwedagon Pagoda, also known as the Golden Pagoda, is a 98 metre (approx. 321.5 feet) gilded stupa located in Yangon, Burma. The pagoda lies to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, on Singuttara Hill, thus dominating the skyline of the City. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese relics of the past four Buddhas enshrined within, namely the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Konagamana, a piece ofthe robe of Kassapa and eight hairs of Gautama, the historical Buddha. The Shwedagon Pagoda Photos is one of the seven forgotten wonders of the medieval mind and one of the wonders of the world.

Legend has it that the Shwedagon Pagoda is 2500 years old. Archaeologists believe the stupa was actually built sometime between the 6th and 10th centuries by the Mon, but this is a very controversial issue because according to the records by Buddhist monks it was built before Lord Buddha died in 486 BC.

There are four entrances (mouk) to the Paya that lead up a flight of steps to the platform (yin byin) on Siriguttara Hill. The eastern and southern approaches have vendors selling books, good luck charms, Buddha images, candles, gold leaf, incense sticks, prayer flags, streamers, miniature umbrellas and flowers. A pair of giant chinthe (leogryphs, mythical lions) guard the entrances and the image in the shrine at the top of the steps from the south is that of the second Buddha, Konagarnana.

The base or plinth of the stupa is made of bricks covered with gold plates. Above the base are terraces (pyjssayan) that only monks and men can access. Next is the bell-shaped part (khaung laung bon) of the stupa. Above that is the turban (baung yit), then the inverted almsbowl (thabeik), inverted and upright lotus petals (kya hmauk kya hlan), the banana bud (nga pyaw bu) and then the crown. The crown or umbrella (hti) is tipped 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. The very top, the diatnond bud (sein bu) is tipped with a 76 carat (15 g) diamond.

The Gold seen on the stupa is made of genuine gold plates, covering the brick structure attached by traditional rivets. Myanmar people all over the country, as well as monarchs in its history, have donated gold to the pagoda to maintain it. It was started in the 15th century by the Mon Queen Shin Sawbu who gave her weight in gold and continues to this day.

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