Shewedagon Pagoda – A Myriad of Buddhas

Here it is – The most sacred of all Buddhist sights in the country and one of the wonders of the world, it’s 2500 years old and 98m high. Of course it wasn’t always plated in gold.

Around the top are 1,110 diamonds, 278 carats. 1383 other stones such as rubies also decorate the top, and on the very tip is one 76 carat diamond. Of course you can barely see them, except at night, if you stand at a certain place the light catches them.

You could walk in a circle (clockwise only) around the main spire, and there were Buddhas and Buddhist stations of the zodiac on the right and around the structure on the left as you were walking there were many houses containing any number of Buddhas. There was even a tree grown from a clipping of the actual tree Buddha sat under when he became enlightened.

You must remove your shoes before entering the Pagoda. The ground is hot.

I bought flowers at the entrance, only to find out they had a purpose. We were approached my a man with a book, asking what day of the week we were born on. We didn’t know. I gave him my birth date and he looked it up and said I was born on a Saturday. Then he led me to my own special shrine for those of us born on Saturday. I gave my flower to the Buddha and then had to wash the Buddha’s head and the corresponding animal symbol beside him.
My animal was a mythical dragon-serpent

Everyone was doing this – at their particular birth day, washing the Buddha and lighting incense.

Here you can find out your particular animal sign

Day Direction Planet Animal Sign

Wed am south Mercury tusked elephant (same as Buddha)
Wed pm northwest Yahu (?) Tuskless Elephant
Thu west Jupiter rat
Fri north Venus Guinea Pig or Mole
Sat southwest Saturn Naga (mythical dragon-serpent)
Sun northeast Sun Garuda
Mon east Moon Tiger
Tue southeast Mars Lion

You are not allowed to point your feet at a Buddha when sitting. But there are so many Buddhas in every direction, I think it is impossible not to hit one with the virtual trajectory of your toe.. That’s why it is probably best to kneel sitting on your heels with your toes pointed towards the earth.

I loved that people were taking naps all around the Buddhas.

This was the technicolour Buddha. Seemingly the most popular one, you can see an electric light display in the centre. It was a little strange. Some of the Buddhas looked like slot machines, they had so many lights.

Kipling called the Shewedagon Pagoda “A golden mystery.. a beautiful winking wonder.”

Offerings in a shrine for luck in businesses

I went back again at night, just to see it in the evening. The ground was soaked with rain, and I had to walk carefully.

It was more peaceful at night, the wet ground was cool on my bare feet and there were mostly locals.

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6 Responses to Shewedagon Pagoda – A Myriad of Buddhas

  1. Ginnie says:

    OMG, Stacey! What an experience, regardless of what religion one might be!

  2. Ginnie says:

    I forgot to ask in my last comment, Stacey, if there is ever anyone trying to steal those precious jewels?? Can’t you see a James Bond movie there! I bet no one would let them get close enough to try.

  3. Ex-Shammickite says:

    What a fascinating place. And all those jewels, it’s incredible. You are so blessed to be able to visit shch places.

  4. Expat Traveler says:

    definitely sometyhing most people don’t see! I agree with Ginnie.. 🙂

  5. miss tango in her eyes says:

    I never imagined a place sooooo spectacular! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Betsy says:

    Am really enjoying catching up on your travels. These photos are the best yet! I would have LOVED to be able to see this with my own eyes!

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