Myanmar Shwedagon Pagoda

Jan Leeming

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Date: 26th December 2016

We returned from Inle Lake to Yangon (Rangoon) for the last full day of our Burma Experience. Having made an incredibly slow coach tour of central Yangon in order to see the old Colonial Buildings (traffic is virtually at a standstill but isn't it in every big city worldwide) we finished our trip with a visit to the largest and most Holy Pagoda in Burma - the Shwedagon.

It is an incredible sight and almost defies description. It is covered in tons of gold and the 'umbrella' at the top has enough jewels and diamonds to set up a Jewelllery business. Among other 'holy' relics, it is said to contain some hairs from the head of the Buddha.

The Pagoda itself is stunning but it is surrounded by countless gold Stupa and effigies of Buddha abound. I hit the Temple bell which is supposed to take away your transgressions and give you luck - please! And I also 'bathed' the Buddha. If you know the day of your birth - mine being Monday - you find the appropriate Buddha at the base of the Pagoda and pour water over him by way of a cleansing ritual. I know that Buddhists give paper thin gold squares as offerings to the Buddha but I'd never seen the procedure being done - there's a 'bucket' of what must be some kind of 'glue' and the person making the offering attaches the gold leaf to the statue using the adhesive. It all looks very rough but eventually it is all smoothed and the Buddha puts on a little more weight as we saw with the Buddha at Mahamuni which had lost its fine features after a hundred years of libations.


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