Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is the most important religious site in Myanmar, believed to contain relics from 4 different Buddhas and an important symbolic location which has been a backdrop for many important moments in the history of modern Myanmar politics.
The main stupa at Shwedagon Pagoda
According to local legend the Pagoda dates back over 2,500 to lifetime of the Gautama Buddha who, according the legend, gave two travelling Burmese merchants eight of his hairs shortly after he achieved enlightenment which they brought back to the local king who in turn constructed Shwedagon Pagoda to house the sacred hairs. Not all historians and archaeologists agree with this history of the pagoda and instead place the date of construction as sometime around the 6th Century. Either way Shwedagon Pagoda is hugely impressive and has made a lasting impression on foreigners who have visitors the pagoda over the years.
About Shwedagon Pagoda
The pagoda itself sits at the centre of a larger site with four entrances. The pagoda itself is 99 metres high, covered in over 20,000 solid bars and topped with a solid gold umbrella feature, known as a ‘hti’, with 7 tiers and encrusted with over 5,000 diamonds and 2,000 rubies. At the very pinnacle of the hti is a massive 76 carat diamond. The value of the gold and precious stones is astronomical. The hti alone is believed to contain gold and precious stones to a value of around $3 billion USD and the gold around the rest of the Pagoda has been estimated to weigh between 9 and 60 tonnes, which at today’s gold prices ranges in value from $3 to $21 billion USD.
The main pagoda sits in the centre of square which is 275 metres in length on each side, with a number of other significant structures clustered around it. The most significant of which is the Naungdawgyi Pagoda, which according to legend marks the spot where the 8 hairs of the Buddha were placed where they first arrived at the site. In addition to this the site holds has another 36 structures all of which a rich history and are well worth visiting.
Seated Buddha in the Hall of Great Prosperity
Shwedagon Pagoda is open from 06:00 to 20:00 every day and admission costs $5 USD.
Location of Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda is 3.3 km from Yangon Central Railway Station.
Travel to Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda is located near Yangon City Centre. Follow the links below for information about travel to Yangon: