Shwedagon Yangon MyanmarYangon Myanmar Shwedagon
Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) Shwedagon Pagoda
The approach to the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of four long, broad and roofed stairs, is like trying to get to Nirvana itself. But like entering sacred infinity, it's still a worthwhile thing. This is the heart of Yangon, Myanmar's largest town, where the stunning center of the country's buddhist faith is located.
Swedagon Pagoda is at least a thousand years old - although it has been around much longer according to myth. It has been expanded and renovated over the course of the ages and is now 99 m high. Each of the cardinal points is an alter where men stop to prayer.
However, around the basis there are tens of other smaller Buddha sculptures and shrines around which humans congregate to burn frankincense and launder the figure. Shoredagon is dominating the sky around much of Yangon and all you can see is the high gold tower. It is like a large ecclesiastical building with perhaps forty or fifty other small outbuildings.
One pavilion has more Buddha sculptures in different postures, another has a monk who sits in calm reflection, or sometimes a family just relax in the shadows and have a meal. The entrance fee for a foreigner is five bucks, but of course the pass is free for the local people. It' also a kind of refuge from the mess of the Yangon highways.
The majority of folks will visit the pit stop and then go their happy way. However, at the foot of the south stairs there is another pit stop that nobody seems to know. Its name is Maha Wizaya and it is one-of-a-kind because the motif is cupped. It is not just empty - it has the most unbelievable interior designed to make it look like a wood and a blanket showing the constellation of the heavens.