Saturday, September 10, 2016

Visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Since my trip to Myanmar a few weeks ago was for work, I was busy preparing our meeting agenda, and I didn't get to research what to do in Yangon, mainly because I wasn't sure we had enough time.

It turns out that research isn't really necessary when you visit Yangon, because the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's biggest and most sacred Pagoda, is at the center of the city, and you can see it when you're driving around. 

We were able to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda after our meetings on the first day, so we arrived just in time for sunset. The Pagoda is so big, they have four main entrances.

Dress modesty because spaghetti-strap tops and short skirts are not allowed. Shoes are also prohibited so bring a bag for your shoes or leave it in the car. Entrance for foreigners is 8,000Kyats (around US$8), while locals can enter anytime for free. 

We arrived just at sunset, so you can see the light blue sky, and the glow of the stupa made from bricks covered with real gold plates.  

One of the traditions practiced in the Shwedagon Pagoda is to look for the Buddha that corresponds to the day you were born. People then pray to that Buddha and pour water over him, the spirit behind, and the small statue in front, the same number of times as your age.

The highlight of the Shwedagon Pagoda is the crown. You can visit the photo gallery to see the close-up photos. The crown is tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies and  the top diamond bud is tipped with a 76 carat diamond. 

One of the highlights of the visit is seeing the diamond tip change color at night depending on what angle you are looking at it from.
The diamong changes color from Blue, Green, Yellow,
Pink, Red and so on. Just look for the handwritten signs.

The Pagoda looks different at night and is also beautiful.

I can't imagine visiting during the day, when the floors are hot from the sun and you need to walk around barefoot, but if you're in Yangon, seeing this as part of the skyline is not enough. It definitely deserves a closer look. just saying.

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