A continuation of my last post, Yangon - First Impressions of Myanmar - Burma. After our authentic Burmese meal at danuphyu daw saw Yee Myanma we visited Shwedagon Pagoda. The sheer beauty of the design of this place takes your breath away when you first see it perched on Singuttara Hill, built of brick but completely covered in gold it shines in the sunlight. The origins of this holy place are cloaked in mystery and there are many interesting legends which you can read about by visiting the link. Shwedagon Pagoda.
There are four stairway entrances to the Pagoda, South, West, North and East, all of which except the latter have either escalators or lifts as well as stairs. The entrance passageway most commonly used by visitors and the one we used is the Southern Stairway,(zaungdan) of 104 steps up to the main terrace is approached from the city centre direction on Shwedagon Pagoda Road. As you can see from my photo above the entrance is closely guarded by two enormous fearsome looking mythological creatures. Known as the chinthe, or leogryph this half lion, half griffin ogre is a man eating monster!
On reaching the terrace the afternoon light on the many stupas was quite a spectacle as one emerged from the semi-darkness of the covered stairways. In the words of Somerset Maugham "At last we reached the great terrace. All about shrines and pagodas were jumbled pell-mell with the confusion with which trees grow in the jungle. They had been built without design or symmetry, but in the darkness, their gold and marble faintly gleaming they had a fantastic richness, And then emerging from among them like a great ship surrounded by lighters, rose dim, severe and splendid, the Shwe Dagon"
I will now let my photos take you on a virtual tour of the complex, there was a lot going on as the Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred place in Burma for Buddhists and large numbers visit every day to make their offerings at the various shrines.
All around the pagoda are shrines with a Buddha image, one for each day of the week. Every shrine has a planet and an animal sign associated with it in accordance with Eastern astrology. Burmese people pray to the shrine belonging to their day of birth burning candles, offering flowers and pouring water over the image.
In Myanmar there is a long tradition of temporary ordination of Buddhist monks and married men can traditionally return to the monastery from time to time, provided they have their wives' permission. As can be seen in this next photo, with wife and daughter proudly walking along behind this monk.
South East Asian Games 2013
We would be returning to Yangon again at the end of our trip but for now our visit was coming to an end, we returned to our hotel where we freshened up before going out again for supper. A Thai restaurant Mai Thai where once again we ran into participants competing in the South East Asian Games 2013
For local directions hit the blue Google button on the right
The Shwedagon Pagoda,officially titled Shwedagon Zedi Daw, also known in English
as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda. Wikipedia
Address: Dagon, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
|Map of Myanmar showing Tourist Destinations with thanks to Myanmar Travel Information|
With thanks to the following sites for the background information included in this post. The links will take you directly to the official websites if you are interested in learning more about Yangon and other places mentioned.
Yangon - Encyclopaedia Britannica Wikitravel - Yangon Travel Guide Trip Advisor - Mai Thai
Wikipedia - Yangon History etc. Shwedagon Pagoda Myanmar Travel Information
danuphyu daw saw Yee Myanma - Trip Advisor Facebook - Ilikemyanmar - Information Channel
All photos are my own unless otherwise stated taken in December 2013
More Yangon photos can be found on Flickr in My Album entitled Yangon, Myanmar, Burma
I would also like to point out that this entire trip was organised as independent travellers by my daughter. She planned and researched an itinerary, which we discussed, then she booked all the hotels and flights.
All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection