Shwesandaw Pagoda, an architectural masterpiece, is a Buddhist pagoda in Bagan, Burma. It is considered as a graceful white pyramid-style place and an imposing structure visible from far away rising from the plains of Bagan with its height of 328 feet.
The pagoda was built by King Anawrahta in 1057, the founder of the Bagan Kingdom. The King wanted to further Buddhism in his empire. In 1057, after Manuha’s refusal, Anawrahta invaded Thaton and after this successful conquest, he had the Shwesandaw pagoda built to enshrine hair relics of the Buddha, which he had brought back from Thaton.
Things to see and do at Shwesandaw Pagoda
The pagoda welcomes its guests from 4:30 am to 17:00 pm. Travelers go to the pagoda can see its corners’ five terraces which were adorned with statues of Ganesha, the Hindu God with the elephant head. Therefore, the pagoda is locally also known as the Ganesh pagoda or Maha Peinne pagoda.
Gazing with Shwesandaw pagoda, travelers can see a white painted symmetrical structure consisting of a bell shaped stupa set on a base of five square receding terraces. Hence, it has been considered as the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading from the square bottom terraces to the round base of Shwesandaw. The pagoda contains a series of five terraces, topped with a cylindrical stupa, which has a bejeweled umbrella which can be found on many Burmese temples. On these five terraces, there used to be hundreds of terra-cotta plaques with depictions from several Jataka tales, the stories about the previous lives of the Buddha. However, unfortunately, nothing is left today.
Visiting around Shwesandaw pagoda, tourists can see four image houses, one of them contains a huge reclining Buddha statue of 70 feet long situated to the west of this pagoda. The others made of stone used to house brick and bronze Buddha images which then were moved to the National Museum in Yangon and the Bagan Archaeological Museum to preserve.
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From the narrow and steep flights of steps on the sides of these receding terraces, visitors can enjoy breathtaking view over the temple plain of Bagan. Shwesandaw pagoda is also a great and well known spot for sunset and sunrise watching. It is a really not to be missed moment for the visitors coming to this ancient destination.
Not only Bagan is an ideal place to enjoy the magical moments of the Mother Nature, the Golden land owns many great places to watch sunrise and sunset. Take a look at http://bagandaytours.com/5-best-places-enjoy-sunrise-sunset-myanmar/
Besides, during yours tour in Bagan, you can go to Shinbinthalyaung temple which is next to Shwesandaw pagoda. It is a rectangular building with several entrances and small windows enshrines an outstanding reclining Buddha image.
How to get to Shwesandaw Pagoda
Shwesandaw pagoda is situated roughly midway between Thatbyinnyu and Dhammayangyi. It takes 20 minutes driving from the Nyaung U Airport of Bagan. Therefore, the tourists can take a minibus or hire a local taxi to get there from the airport to the pagoda. However, they should come to the pagoda before sunset because its top terrace is roomy, considering the numbers of camera-toting visitors.