Shwedagon Pagoda
In Yangon, Myanmar (Rangoon, Burma)

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It's spectacular! A big central stupa, covered with bamboo scaffolding. We're just in time to see the parade of construction workers leaving. The Insight Guide enumerates the important sights from A to X. We see them all except the entrances in one clockwise turn around the pavillion, between warm 4:15 and a dark cool 6:30. Then we stay for a half hour to rest and watch the passing parade. The people have been quiet, respectful; not noisy, not exuberant. There's enthusiasm only at the day-of-the-week Buddhas which they "wash" - pour water on continuously. Spires, reflections, mediators, innumerable Buddhas, praying people, monks, tourists, tourist photographers, pros to take your picture at the pagoda. A few poor, some begging, but the guards don't allow it. Bells to ring, prayers to recite, special areas to pray for results in this life, boddhi trees - one grown from a shoot from Buddha's. Gold spires everywhere. Buddhas with neon halos after dark. A Buddha that women aren't allowed to see is on TVs; men are allowed, but it was closed for the day and anyhow I didn't have the required ticket. Immense spotlights. Giant binoculars to see the jeweled hti at the tippy top. A parade of sweepers at 5:30 that lifts the loose dirt from the white marble paving - but not the mud that builds up at the day-of-the-week Buddhas. Buddhas of every description: big-headed Burman, narrow, all four mudras and several other positions, at least three reclining, three of a kind together, size from gigantic to two feet and smaller, painted plaster, plaster being spackled, golden, bronze, white, with painted robes or with paint stripped for maintenance, with gold leaf being applied. It's spectacular!

The Main Stairway up to Shwedagon

The stupa

The main stupa, Shwedagon Pagoda The main stupa with a few of its surrounding stupas and temples In front of the main stupa, praying at the Wish Fulfilling Place Despite the scaffolding, the gold still glows Quitting time for the men working on the stupa The workmen aren't afraid of heights!

Surrounding stupas

One of the 4 largest of the surrounding stupas Stupas in the evening Shwedagon's main stupa at night Minor stupas. Washing the alabaster Buddha at one of the planetary posts Stupas


Temples in the northeast part of Shwedagon Mahabodhi Pagoda This temple has its monk to direct you in.


A Buddha in a niche, contrasting with another Buddha outside. Part of an opulent temple Dressed The aura (halo) behind this Buddha will be lit at night

The lights of the auras blink and move like neon signs Buddha maintenance Proper sculpting


 Prayer  Prayer Getting merit by applying gold leaf to a Buddha


Decoration Leogryph - combination Lion and Griffin - <em>chinthe<em>

Dayend cleanup

At the end of the day, the offerings are removed A battalion of volunteers sweep the marble floor The first wave sweeps as another wave waits

The evening

Hanging out in the evening The exit stairway from above Finally, the view from our hotel: Shwedagon and another lesser pagoda.

© 2005 by Max Buten. Created using Thotor, Photo Thumbnail Generator!
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This page last updated Feb 21, 2005.
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