Monday, 6 February 2017

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

Shwedagon Pagoda is probably the most prolific pagoda in Yangon. Its compound covers about 114 acres at Singuratta Hill nearby the Royal Lake, and over the years, the pagoda has been renovated to impressive heights; standing at over 110m now. The most remarkable element of the gilded pagoda is not merely its grand gold colour but the fact that they have real treasure hidden beneath the dome of the pagoda and gold bricks was used for part of its construction. In fact, it is said to have over 4500 diamonds in the dome and one of the largest is 72 carats! It is indeed mind-boggling but the top area is restricted so I guess that information will remain unproven. My colleagues and I spent about 2 hours here as we went during late afternoon and waited for it to become dark because my colleagues wanted to see the pagoda with the lights on.

The entrance fee was 8000 kyats for foreigners and you get a sticker to identify your payment. I would advice preparing a plastic bag to carry around your footwear as no shoes or slippers are permitted in the area. I wouldn't advice keeping your shoes in the locker as well because there are different exits from the pagoda and it would be quite a far walk from one exit to another. My only complaint would be the sticky floor and stairs on the climb up to the pagoda as we were required to go bare-foot and the less-than-hygienic surfaces did not impress any of us. Wet wipes are recommended and NO socks if you want to spare them. Flit flops will be best as they can be washed when you are back. And the stairs can be tiring. I think there's like hundreds of steps to climb! Okay, maybe less but it feels that way.

I think the pagoda is worth a visit. The architecture and beauty of the structure are amazing, a testament to its 2500 years of history. The temples, stupas and statues surrounding the main pagoda are astounding with their complex designs too. Not to be missed when in Yangon!

Forgive the awkward photos. I lost the original that I have painstakingly edited thanks to the apps called Blogo which did not post successfully as it seemed to tell me. After I have deleted the copies and finally checked a few days later, I realised only my text was posted. Sigh! Never again!

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