Myanmar is called the golden pagoda place with millions of large and small temples all over the country. Among them, >Shwesandaw Pagoda – the highest ancient temple in Bagan is a not-to-be-missed destination when you visit Myanmar
1/ The location of Shwesandaw pagoda
Shwesandaw Pagoda is a spectacular pagoda which is situated in the Northeast of Bagan (coordinates 21°10’19.59″N, 94°51’36.71″E). This is a city located in the dry land, central Myanmar, located on the east bank of Ayeyarwady River, 145 km southwest of Mandalay, in Mandalay Region. It covers about 25 square miles with hundreds of temples and pagodas.
This pagoda is in the middle of the ancient city Bagan, an archaeological area in Myanmar. Along with other pagodas and ancient buildings, Shwesandaw Temple creates a mystical and poetic beauty for Bagan, helps this city to attract millions of visitors to admire and discover.
Shwesandaw Pagoda is the highest ancient temple in Bagan, Myanmar
2/ Long history of the pagoda
As we know, Myanmar people are very worshiped in Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced to Myanmar in the 3rd century BC and quickly merged with the indigenous culture, develop strongly throughout history. In the country’s history, there have been millions of temples and pagodas that’are erected throughout Myanmar, and Shwesandaw Pagoda is one of the oldest temples that has a long history.
This pagoda was built in 1057. Until now, the temple has existed more than a thousand years, it is only a bit younger than Shwedagon in Yangon. However, this pagoda is still preserved well and retains its solid, primitive architecture. According to the legend, it was built by King Anawrahta to preserve relics as one of the eight hairs of Shakyamuni Buddha that’s brought back from India in BC. One corner of this complex is to worship King Bayinaung (aka Bayint Nyaung), who defeated the rebels.
Since its construction, the temple has become a familiar place of worship for Bagan people. And now, it is one of the most ancient temples, contributes to attract many visitors to this city.
3/ Discover the Unique architecture of Shwesandaw pagoda
Besides Buddhist pilgrimage, discover the unique architecture of the temple is also what tourists are interested in. Shwesandaw is considered one of the most beautiful pagodas in Myanmar. If you are a people who have love of discovering about ancient structure, this is really a destiantion that’s not to be missed when traveling to Myanmar. Since 1957, the pagoda remains the same structure as the original state. However, after rebuilding, the current Shwesandaw pagoda looks like the modern one.
With a height of 250 ft, Shwesandaw is the highest ancient temple in Bagan. From a distance, Shwesandaw Temple is like an Egyptian pyramid, with 4 faces, 5 floors and a stupa (bell-shaped tower) on the top. Near the south entrance of the temple, there is a Mandalay-style bronze Buddha that has 100 years old. The Buddha image has the eyes that look straight ahead. Along with the west side of stupa tower, there are also a few Buddha statues of that type.The special feature of Shwesandaw Pagoda is that there are four brick stairs on four sides, each with 5 floors. In order to help visitors and pilgrims to climb the elevated balconies, they fitted a rather sturdy array of iron tubes on the right side of the stairs, so that visitors could climb easily because the stairs were steep and narrow.
4. Shwesandaw Pagoda – A beautiful sunrise and sunset views
Not only coming here to worship Buddha or explore the unique architecture, the local people as well as visitors are also very excited when watching sunrise and sunset at the top of Shwesandaw Pagoda. This ancient temple in Bagan is dubbed “one of the most beautiful sunrises and sunset places in the world”. The famous Shwesandaw Temple is an interesting sunrise spot in Bagan because it has an ideal height for visitors to experience the first sunrise present among more than 3000 temple towers in this city. In addition, you will admire the panoramic view of Bagan: the shrines, the temple complex, the impressive air balloons,… All will bring an unforgettable impression. So, when visiting Bagan, do not miss the opportunity to catch the dawn or sunset at the top of this temple.
Shwesandaw Pagoda give visitors a beautiful sunrise and sunset views
5. Note when visiting Shwesandaw pagoda
Myanmar people are very religious and respectful of religious works. Therefore, visitors should pay attention to certain rules when visiting this pagoda:
- Remove shoes before entering the temple area: Normally, you’ll have to take off your shoes and socks at the gate, except some places that allow you to enter the temple door.
- Wear formal attire when entering Shwesandaw pagoda: Do not wear shorts and sleeveless shirts when entering this sacred religious area. This rule applies to both women and men.
- Keep silent: When entering this religious building, visitors need to avoid playing, shouting or teasing each other to protect the temple’s solemn, stillness.
- Pay attention when taking photos: Some areas of the pagoda do not allow shooting to avoid affecting the sacred atmosphere. Therefore, you should pay attention to signs to know if you can take photos.
- Do not sit back to the Buddha image: If you sit in a place that has a Buddha statue, you should avoid sitting back to the statue, as this is considered a disrespectful act.
- Respect the monk: The monks in Myanmar are highly respected. So, you should be polite, bow each time you meet them in the area of this pagoda.
Hopefully, the above information will help you to understand more about Shwesandaw pagoda. This ancient temple with over 1000 years of existence will surely make you impressed after only one visit.