Almost all Myanmar people practice Buddhism which means there are an extraordinary amount of pagodas, stupas, and pyas throughout the country. Out of them all Shwedagon is the most revered. If you are lucky to live nearby you may visit Shwedagon on a daily basis but more often it is the dream of many to visit it once in their lifetime to pay homage to the Buddha. There is a dense amount of history and meaning in every nook and cranny, the three hours we spent there seemed didn’t allow us to even skim the surface.
The Pagoda, which is also known as the Great Dagon Pagoda, is 325 feet tall and is completely covered in gold. The crown, or very peak of it holds 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies plus a 76 carat diamond. It is said to be the oldest pagoda in the world at over 2,600 years old. It has been rebuilt and added too over the years and there is always at least one section of it that is getting work done. There are four entrances that lead up to the main floor, all grand and quite spectacular. Along most of the entrances are vendors selling all sorts of goods including religious items as well as every day items.
We did participate in a few traditions while we were there, first I rang one of the giant bells - I'm not exactly sure what the meaning to this is but they were everywhere and it was very fun. While walking around the pagoda we each found the "corner" relating to our day of birth (Wednesday morning for Kim and Friday for me). Buddhist believe strongly in astrology and have many superstitions around dates. While we were at our corner we poured water over the buddha statues there to wash away the bad.
Alisa & Kim
Two expats living, teaching, and eating their way across this beautiful world