My First Day to the intriguing Myanmar is in Yangon, the capital city! Serendipitously or maybe unfortunately or both, it fell on the full moon, which they call Full Moon Day of Warso. It is one of the 7 sacred days for Teravada Buddhism or Orthodox Buddhism that dominates Myanmar (Ref: http://www.myanmars.net/myanmar-culture/myanmar-buddhism.htm). So we went to the most famous landmark in Myanmar, the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is said to be 2,500 years old, renovated many times and known to enshrine the 8 strands of hair from Gautama Buddha. We came in via the west gate because our taxi cannot maneuver anymore through the traffic. We better walk or loose precious hours in waiting for cars to clear. We went early anticipating many people going there, but lo and behold every Burmese, young and old are there!!! Oh My God, it is very difficult to maneuver ourselves through the high stairs. At least there is a divider at the stairs for the traffic flow.
We already know that shoes or slippers are removed before entering temples, yet we thought in these multitude of people it might not be very strict this time. Children outside the entrance are selling plastic bags for easily lugging the shoes with you through the temple complex. It is amazing how a monk giving some flyers noticed i didn't remove my socks, although i am holding my shoes. He said "REMOVE SOCKS", which i hurriedly complied with embarrassment.
West Entrance guarded by two mythical lion-dragons
The west entrance is the only entrance without vendors and provided with scalators to the platform.
a reclining Buddha in one of the side temples
I wasn't able to take photos while on the stairs to the complex, it is impossible, the only area free of other people is the place you are standing on.
the main and biggest stupa of the Shwedagon Paya
Shwedagon Pagoda stands on a platform of over 5 hectares on a hill 58 meters above sea level. There are many stupas but this main stupa is totally solid, covered with gold and the top is studded with diamonds. Those structures covered with cloth are under renovation. At the very top of the spire is the diamond orb, that is a hollow gold sphere studded with 4351 diamonds totalling 1800 carats. At the topmost is a single 76 carat diamond.
One of the many structures of Buddha at Shwedagon Paya
...souvenir items of all sizes and materials
Schwedagon Pagoda viewed from the 21st floor of a nearby hotel, at the Sky Bistro. We went there not only for lunch but for the view.
I searched for the synonym of the word intriguing and the first link says the following, all of them are true!
Synonyms: absorbing, arresting, consuming, engaging, engrossing, enthralling, fascinating, gripping, immersing, intriguing, involving, riveting
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