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Visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda 

Exploring the Pagoda Platform

Shwedagon Pagoda Photos
Shwedagon Pagoda Platform History 
The impressive Shwedagon Pagoda Stupa and & Platform
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is Myanmar’s and Buddhist's version of the Vatican and similar to the the Kaaba for Muslims standing atop Theingottara Hill adjacent to Peoples Park.

The 325-foot-tall golden pagoda is dominating the skyline of Yangon City.In addition to the fascinating Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is another destination the most famous "pagoda city" in the world of Bagan.

That city is located in the dry zone of Myanmar (Burma) the biggest country in the ASEAN region. A truly impressive and incredible object for photo shooting and Buddhist devotion. The monuments are attraction under various light conditions posing a challenge for every serious photographer and video creator.The type of the subjects is also totally unique since there is nothing similar on earth, that's the stuff mega photos of Buddhist Temples are made from. 

Now is the time for new exploration because in a few years (today 2017) the tourist

Tsunami will swap over the great plains and then no much space left. This incredible
Buddhist shrines have fascinated people coming from east and west. 

Two or three days' journey away from Pegu raises ... a pagoda they called it Dagon with an admirable height and is gilded from bottom to top. There is also a house where the monks pray with a length of 55 steps long, inside are gilded columns flanking corridors. It is open to alien sides, and you can see many smaller columns, which are also gilded, the house itself sparkles inside and outside of gold round are beautiful buildings in which the pilgrims can rest, these houses are full of statues, both men, and female, and they are all gilded. He mentioned, I mean, it's the most beautiful place in the world. The main colors are always golden earth tones and white, the forms are amazing.

The description of the English traveler is interesting in every detail. They confirmed the composition of the Shwedagon Pagoda towards the end of the 16th Century. Even then there were four entrances; around the stupa stood buildings for various purposes, among them, the ordination hall can be recognized easily. There the ceremonies of Monk ordinations were held, pilgrims can rest in Zayats which are hall-like open building, a post supporting the roof, and the houses are full of statues. Plenty of believers prays and meditate in front of the Buddha sculptures.

As explained by Ralph Fitch in 1586:

Towards the end of the 15th Century the shrine already reached a height of about 90 m. During the lifetime of Queen Shinsawbu a platform was built around in the years 1455 to 1462 which was surrounded by a balustrade and walls, and this way they put the “cornerstone " of the still existing ensemble on the platform.
Here are hundreds of statues to make exotic
Big Buddha Sculptures small ones new old and of various quality ara around. The statues have naturally a religious and often just decorative function.

Many Buddhist devotees place them in a temple on the platform to gain merit, some built a whole pagoda, shrine and temple and place them there. Since this is a popular habit in the country there are probably millions of them virtually everywhere. on hills, mountains on islands in the river, offshore or just as a jade pendant around the neck. This huge reclining sculpture is in a compound just before Bago when coming from Yangon it is a popular pilgrim destination together with the Kyaik Pun Buddha close by. Sculptures are a substantial part of Myanmar art.

Plenty of creative work is is made by making them since hundreds of years, although they always look somehow similar they variations mainly depending where they are created. The artists usually bring some local ideas into the work and the proportion vary slightly in different countries, but the basics are fix since hundreds of years.

  1. The stupa platform
  2. The Shwedagon platform
  3. Fine Buddha Statue
  4. Buddha Mudras
  5. Buddha statues washing
  6. A sleeping Buddha
  7. A huge Buddha Shrine
  8. A monumental sleeping Buddha in Monywa
  9. Buddha statue in Bago
Pagoda Images are often monumental shots.  Buddha Shrine show the deep dedication to the religion.
Buddha Statues are often used as simple decoration.  Chinthe figures are the guardians of pagodas, stupas and temple.
Sometimes the whole look a bit like Disneyland but we must consider that this architectural add on's are more than
thousand years old when the peoples where still totally engulfed in the ancient mysticism.
shwedagon pagoda donation
north pagoda entrance

A sacred monument in Buddhism

The pagoda was repeatedly repaired and enlarged. The stupa reached the current height during the Konbaung dynasty in 1774. When the King of Ava, Hsinyushin , rebuild the shrine again and the present height of 99.5 m was finalized including the silhouette.

It was the overall shape which was completed by the end of the 18th century, but in the details, it has undergone changes to our days. 
The study of the place makes it clear that it is not as old as always claimed. The central stupa and some of its main parts were rebuilt in the 19th and 20th Century. The earliest buildings on the platform are from the 19th Century. The temple ensembles grow larger but the characteristics of the composition of their floor plans remained unchanged.

Outdated and damaged parts are replaced over time with new ones. The exchange of details had no significant effect on the iconographic basics of the complexes. No small role in preserving the stable composition of the temple complexes played the conservative nature of the Buddhist cult architecture whose main principle was to copy older models exactly. Also, the surrounding area which over the centuries remained substantially unchanged contributed significantly help that the ensemble kept their individuality.

As a result of all these circumstances, the dating is very difficult; it has a lot to do with legends, wishful thinking, and myths in the 4th to 5 Century since there is inadequate archaeological evidence.

Now is the time for new exploration because in a few years (today 2016) the tourist Tsunami will swap over the great plains and then no much space left. These incredible Buddhist shrines have fascinated people coming from east and west. The main colors are always golden earth tones and white, the forms are amazing.

Bagan is the pagoda and temple city "par excellence" there is nothing similar on planet earth, maybe on Alpha Centauri but we don't know, never been there before since my Honda Scooter has some limitation inherent to "Earthlings" also Luke Skywalker has no idea how to bridge the gap so what? There is only one structure in Myanmar which can match that and that is the Shwedagon Pagoda which is the most prominent single stupa structure in the country although it is whether the oldest nor the tallest but it is the most fascinating followed by the Shwezigon of Bagan and the Shwenandaw of Bago.
Images of Myanmar (Burma)
Buddhist Architecture
The monuments are an object of desire since photography was invented. British explorer who came with the colonial troupes were the first to bring it into the country.

This was in direct continuation of the artists who made drawings and etchings and colorized them, together with the other who mainly made watercolor pictures in time of a technical turn around evolution by any means.
  1. stupa architecture layout
  2. buddhist stupa cross section
  3. The Bupaya Pagoda in Bagan
  4. old brick stupa in Bagan
  5. shwemadaw pagoda bagan
  6. A temple cross section
  7. shwezigon stupa in Bagan
  8. stupa and sunset
  9. Stupa with a Golden Dome
  10. Transportation in Bagan are Oxcarts
  11. Irrawaddy River and golden stupa
  12. Myanmar style
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (Rangoon)
The Sources of this history report are mainly the Glass Palace Chronicles.

This was written in the early 1830's by a Royal Commission and start like that:

Tapussa and Bhallika, two brothers of Asitanjana in Mon state went on a shopping trip to India just as it was in Burmese Days. Coincidentally they met Lord Buddha who sat under a tree. They offered him a honey cake, after he ate the two asked for a gift from him, he took eight hairs and gave them to the brothers.

They then returned by ox carts and ships, carrying the sacred hairs with them in a casket decorated with precious stones. On the way, they met the King of Ajjhatta, who requested two of the sacred hairs. As they traveled by ship and reached Cape Negrais at the southwestern point of the country a Naga (mythical serpent) King named Jayasena asked for two more sacred hairs from them and brought them to Bhumintara.

They then placed them into a ruby casket and informed the King of Ukkalapa about it. The King came with an army of elephants, horses, chariots, and soldier, he paid reverence and with some sacred activities the hairs were brought to their original number of eight.

They came back to Asitanjana and the hairs were enshrined on Singuttara Hill where relics from the previous Buddhas, a water filter of Kakusandha, the robe of Konagamana and an item which belonged to Kassapa were already placed.
The two brothers had a relict chamber made and this chamber was filled with various donated jewelry, diamonds, and other precious stones. The eight sacred hairs of Gautama were washed in water and placed in a ruby casket before being placed in tiered receptacles like the others.

A stone slab all covered with gold was placed over the relic chamber and on it was erected a golden pagoda 44 cubits high. The golden pagoda was encased in a silver one, a copper, and a bronze, then in an iron one, a marble and finally into a big brick stupa.

These are the legends around the founding of the stupa, here is more about the architecture of the monument. This story of Tapussa and Bhallika occurs in few historic texts. Nothing is known what happen after until some texts appeared in 1485 during the reign of King Dhammazedi (1472-1492).

After many years the shrine was overgrown with shrubs. About 350 years later two monks Sona and Uttara came to Suvannabhumi or today Thaton to propagate Buddhism and miraculous the pagoda was found again. When Banya-U (1353-1385) came to the throne of Hanthawaddy (Bago) he removed the enclosing pavilion and enlarged the pagoda, raising it to a height of 40 cubits which is about 18 meters.

Subsequent Mon kings renovated and enlarged the structure. The biggest enlargement was done under Shinsawbu (1453-1472). She was the Granddaughter of Banya-U, founder of the new dynasty of Hanthawaddy, and daughter of Rajadhiraj (1385-1423), a Mon hero.

Today this is Bago

A ideal location for a day trip when in Yangon, some more hours traveling leads to Kyaiktiyo one of the top pilgrim destination in the country. She had the shrine in Yangon enlarged and ordered the first gold layer through a donation of her weight in gold. For funds to handle the maintenance of the pagoda she donated 9,000 hectares of land. Towards the end of her life, Shinsawbu came to the Shwedagon and established her residence nearby.

Dhammazedi , who succeeded Shinsawbu, was also a great patron of Buddhism and continued the good works at the Shwedagon. Among other things he contributed gold of a combined weight of him and the queen for more gilding and had a huge bell cast with around 3 meters wide and 5.5m tall.

The feudal dynasties of old Burma competed not only in the field of construction of capitals to each other in the construction of new and already existing temple complexes, stupas and giant Buddha sculptures everyone tried to build something special to gain merit. Special attention was devoted to decorating them especially those who had relics of Gautama Buddha in it.

A special position among them occupies the Shwedagon. There are thousands of stupas in Myanmar , this is the most famous - a monument of national importance. It shows the standard of an architectural ensemble not only here, but in all South East Asia. The first more or less credible information is from the late 14th Century. From palace chronicles, we know that the king of Hanthawaddy ( Pegu or today Bago) , Byinnya U, renovated a stupa located near the fishing village of Dagon , from which also the name of the stupa is derived with the meaning " Golden Dagon. The reconstructed stupa had a height of about 20 m.
Buddhist Stupa and other 
The canonical form of the round stupa with traditional details was predominant, but by far not the only one in Burma.

In the south half of the country, for example, rectangular stupas are visible. This form most likely followed the traditions of Mon Architecture, it was closely connected with the religious symbolism. At that time were war and the British colonial troop's killed thousands of Burmese people.

After this, some more information about repairs and renovations were issued over time. Probably all these works had something to do with earthquakes which are frequent in this area. Since the mid-16th to the beginning of the 20 Century are no less than eight earthquakes have been registered, under which the monument had suffered. An effect of this repairs was that it continuously grew there are a few places in the country with big pagoda structures another one is Mandalay although Buddhist monks and nuns are visible everywhere.

Tags: Shwedagon Pagoda Shwedagon Pagoda Yangon Buddhist Shrine

  1. white stupas in Mandalay
  2. A temple stupa combination
  3. shwezigon stupa in Bagan
  4. a stupa in the 16th Century
  5. the shwedagon stupa
  6. The pagoda in Mingun
  7. A small white stupa in Yangon
  8. golden stupa of Kyaiktiyo
  9. stupa and temple combined
  10. The botathaung stupa in Yangon
  11. The Maha Muni Buddha
  12. Buddhist devotees