No trip to Burma can complete without a visit to the 2,500 years old Shwedagon Pagoda, which enshrines 4 holy relics of Buddhism, namely the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa, and 8 strands of hair from the head of Gautama.
Located west of the Royal Lake on 114 -acre Singuttara Hill in Yangon, Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the people of the Union of Burma. From a humble beginning of 8.2 meters, the Shwedagon Pagoda today stands close to 110 meters. Shwedagon Pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 5448 diamonds; the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond. It is clearly one of the wonders of the religious world.
Shwedagon Pagoda is a repository of the best in Burma heritage – architecture, sculpture and arts. The Shwedagon Pagoda consists hundreds colorful temples, stupas, and statues that reflects the architectural era spanning almost a 2,500 years. To understand this monumental work of art and architecture, you should take an insider’s view of this magnificent symbol of Buddhism to the lives of the Burmese people. Shwedagon Pagoda forms the focus of religious as well as community activities – the bustling of devotees and monks washing the statues, offering flowers, worshiping, and meditating. Shwedagon Pagoda is administered by the Board of Trustees of Shwedagon Pagoda.
In the pagoda, there are 8 planetary posts corresponding to 8 planets and 7 days in the week; Wednesday is divided into two (A.M. and P.M.). These post are marked by animals that represent the days – Tiger for Monday, Lion for Tuesday, Tusked Elephant for Wednesday morning, Tuskless Elephant for Wednesday afternoon, Rat for Thursday, Guinea Pig for Friday, Nāga or Serpent Dragon for Saturday and Galon for Sunday.
Burmese people believed there were 7 planets of astrology — Moon (Monday), Mars (Tuesday), Wednesday morning (Mercury), Wednesday afternoon (Rahu), Jupiter (Thursday), Venus (Friday), Saturn (Saturday) and Sun (Sunday). It is important to Burmese people to know on which day of the week they were born, as this will determine their exact planetary post among the 8 posts to hold traditional rites and pray.
For your visiting information:
Opening Hours: 04:00 – 22:00 hrs daily, except on the following days that Shwedagon Pagoda is open 24 hours:
1.Waxing Day of Tabaung – the day before full moon day of the Myanmar Lunar month Tabaung (around March)
2.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).
Entrance Fee: $8.00 per person
Shwedagon pagoda has 4 entrances: East, West, South and North. All foreigners have to enter through South Gate to purchase tickets while Burmese can get into via the remaining gates without fee.
Dress code: wear trousers or at least knee length shorts or skirt; t-shirts with elbow length sleeves are also expected and you are expected to be barefooted when entering Shwedagon Pagoda.
Visiting tip: Morning at Shwedagon is believed as the most scared and stunning moment. Rise up early, walk to the pagoda and wait for the sun puts the first light in a purer morning through golden roof; you will get the extraordinary, magical image of the pagoda that is not normally seen.