There are many Cultural Attractions in Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Not only located in the main cities but also in the small towns. As the history in this country mainly related with Buddism; according to the Royal Law, the King had to build a large temple, pagoda or stupa in order to reflect the glory of the king and dynasty. That is the reason why we can find the temples, pagodas and the sacred places around Myanmar nowadays. There are many pagodas which was built more than 1,000 years and this is included Shwedagon Pagoda; The Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in the world and it is certainly the main attraction of Yangon, Myanmar’s capital city and also being like a precious gems that stand for a long time to show to the world and waiting for the tourists to pay homage for their prosperity.
The Shwedagon Pagoda also known as the Great Dagon Pagoda which the word “Shwe” means “golden” while the word “ dagon” means the former name of Yangon city. So, the Shwedagon Pagoda means “The Golden Pagoda of Yangon” and being shine in the city of Myanmar for a long time. It is located near the Singuttara Hill in Yangon. It is believed that the Pagoda is 2,500 years old but Archaeologists believed that the pagoda was built during the 6th – 10th century. At the first time, it is height of 18 Meters but as because it was rebuilt several times, so nowadays it is current height of 98 Meters. According to the traditional, during the kings’ reign, the kings have to build, maintenance and support the pagodas. The king gave some gold, which has a weight equal to or greater than their own weight to wrap as a gold plates to the entire pagoda. The top of the stupa which is decorated with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies, sapphires, and other gems. . At the very top is a single 76-carat diamond and also contain a huge Emerald in the middle of the stupa catches the first and last rays of the setting sun. The Gold seen on the stupa is made of genuine gold plates; which their weight is up to 1,100 kilograms, covering the brick structure attached by traditional rivets. So they will unfold the gold plate by take-off the rivets for cleaning. This is a tradition to do every year.
The design features of the Shwedagon Pagoda is interesting. The pagoda plan is base in a square shape with slope floor. There are no square form on top of the bell-shaped part of the stupa. No stairway to the top of the stupa. Then the turban band, and the inverted alms bowl. All of these features are different from Burmese – Mon basic style of stupa. But for another features to the top of the stupa, there are inverted and upright lotus petals, the large tapering finial which looks like banana bud and then the umbrella crown. With these features are a typical Burmese – Mon Style. Once in the past, the pagoda had been abandoned for a long time as there were several smaller quakes during the 15th Century. Despite a major earthquake in 1768, the top of the pagoda was collapsed. In the 21st Century, the Shwedagon Pagoda was renovated by Queen Shin Sawbu and King Dhammazedi who gave their weight in gold and pasted on the pagoda.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred place for heart and soul for the people of Myanmar. There are the lord of Buddha Image inside the pagoda and people can make a merit and praying. The Mon and Myanmar people believed that worshiping at the Shwedagon Pagoda frequently is the way to escape sorrowful. As the pagoda was stood for a long time, so they set up for the pagoda rule of visitation strictly. For example, the visitors should remove your shoes, socks and stocking before entering the pagoda. Do not wearing short pants and skirts. The visitors must walk clockwise direction while they enter the stupa and the quantity of walking are depend on the zodiac sign.
Foreigners are charged at USD 5 for the entrance fee. The visitor will get the Arrival Sticker to represent for the fee payment. The Shwedagon Pagoda is open every day from 4AM to 9PM.