Shwedagon Pagoda – Myanmar (Burma)
The astounding Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world and is arguably one of the most inspiring religious sites on the planet. The incredible golden palace sits high atop Singuttara Hill and dominates the skyline of the bustling Yangon City below. Four elegant pathways lead you up to the main terrace, whereupon sits the marvellous main Stupa. Every inch of this colossal dome shrine is coated in gold, and the upper parts are studded with over 2,000 carats worth of diamonds. At the top of the spire sits the diamond orb, on which rests a single, stunning 76 carat diamond. The main Stupa is the undisputed focal point of the terrace, but there are several other beautiful stupas, prayer halls and sculptures that make Shwedagon such an impressive site. These all add to the religious significance and atmosphere that defines this stunning location.
Where is it?
The Pagoda sits above the city of Yangon in the south of Burma. The palace sits at the very top of the hill, and is visible from virtually anywhere in the city.
What is it?
Legend has it that the Buddhist Palace was built over 2600 years ago, but archaeologists suggest the current structure was built between the 6th and 10th centuries. The Legend states that Buddha gave two merchant brothers eight of his hairs to take back to Burma, which were enshrined in Shwedagon Pagoda.
Best time to visit?
Burma experiences a monsoonal climate, and as such the best time to visit Shwedagon Pagoda is from November to January. The city is markedly less humid and cooler during these dry winter months.
The Bell pavilion house holds the spectacular Maha Ganda Bell. Cast around 1775 this marvellous golden bell weighs in at 23 tonnes, and was pillaged by the British in 1825 who accidently dropped it in the Yangon River. The Burmese eventually floated it to the surface and now it sits proudly as one of Shwedagon’s greatest marvels.