Shwedagon Pagoda, also known as the Golden Pagoda, is a 99 meter high gold plated pagoda with the diamond studded spire set on top of Singuttara Hill, to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, and dominates the Yangon skyline.
This pagoda is known as one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage destination in Myanmar. Coming back to the history, it is a 2500-year-old pagoda and it has been enlarged and renovated many times, and numerous smaller stupas and other structures have been added until now. At present, it impresses the travelers by hundreds colorful temples, stupas, and statues that reflects the architectural era from time to time. The main stupa is the most impressive structure which is visible at the hilltop location from everywhere of Yangon city and is surrounded by 64 small stupas.
The pagoda is considered as one of the wonders of the religious world with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamondsubies, topaz and sapphires; especially, the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond.
There are four entrances to the pagoda. Both the southern and northern entrances have the choice of an elevator or stairs; the western one has escalators instead of stairs and is the only entrance without vendors. The eastern stairway has the most authentic ambience, as it passes monasteries and vendors selling monastic necessities. The southern entrance is guarded by two 18-foot-high chinthe which is called as mythical lion-dragons and it is the closest way to the main entrance.
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The pagoda opens from 6 am to 22 pm everyday. However, it welcomes the guest 24 hours on these following days: Waxing Day of Tabaung – the day before full moon day of the Myanmar Lunar month Tabaung (around March) and Waxing Day of Wakhaung – the day before full moon day of the Myanmar Lunar month Wakhaung (around June which is the beginning of the Buddhist Lent).
Visiting this pagoda, the tourists can gaze with a custodian for Myanmar art, history and architecture, including the Shwedagon Pagoda Exhibit which is a tribute to those who built it, to the Buddhism principles it represents, and to the hopes it inspires. The exhibit is shown on the main platform and it traces the history and symbolism of the Shwedagon Pagoda through wonderful photographs.
The travelers have to pay attention to their dress code by wearing trousers or at least knee length shorts or skirt, t-shirts with elbow length sleeves are also expected and they are expected to be barefooted when entering the pagoda. Longyis, long cloth worn by Burmese men, are available at the ticket booth. The guests also should remove their shoes and socks, they can leave them at the entrance or carry with them in a plastic bag.
Besides, there are available various facilities for the visitors as food and concession services are available.
Last but not least, this pagoda seems more beautiful at night with a mystical atmosphere and beautiful spotlights. Therefore, it can be seen from most places of Yangon day and night as the golden roof illuminates the city.
The way to get to Shwedagon Pagoda
There are a variety of ways to go to Shwedagon Pagoda by public transportation as taxi, bus and so on. The admission fee to go into the pagoda is USD5. A taxi from the downtown to the pagoda should take the visitors about from USD3 to USD4. The guests should agree on the price first by bargaining, one thing is the meter is often not be used.
» Source: Myanmar tour packages