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A Must See Site in Myanmar: the Shwedagon Pagoda

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Places to go in Asia: Myanmar & the Shwedagon Pagoda

The Shwedagon Pagoda is 2,500 years old pagoda, situated on Singuttara Hill in Yangon, the biggest city in Myanmar, South East Asia. The sources of Shwedagon are lost in antiquity but it’s estimated the Pagoda was built by a Monk during the Bagan period between 10th century AD and the 6th. It’s covered with gold leaf, and its statues have thousands of diamonds.

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The Shwedagon Pagoda Has a Rich History

Myanmar is a territory prone to quakes, hence the Shwedagon Pagoda has survived many in its 2,500 long history. It is anyhow a well preserved site and well-worth your visit if you roam on this side of Asia.

Some of the worst earthquakes this site has survived was back in the 17th century, when the monument suffered damage on eight occasions during earthquake. A worse quake that was to follow, also brought down the entire top of the zedi in 1768. King Hsinbyushin had it reconstructed to nearly its present stature, and that renovation is dated from by its current arrangement.

Other than earthquakes, the compound also witnessed some wars. It was occupied by British troops for two years after the First Anglo-Burmese War in 1824. During the Second Anglo-Burmese War, in 1852, the Paya as it also known, was taken again back by the Brits. The Soldiers pillaged it and it continued under military control until 1929, for 77 years. Emplacements of cannons can be seen outside the outer wall.

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In 1930, tremendous quake which completely ruined the city, left the Paya untouched. However, the site was not so fortunate when suffered from fire the following year.

After another small quake in 1970, the zedi was clad in bamboo scaffolding, which went beyond King Mindon’s 100-year old hti, and was refurbished. The stupa also had to be fixed following the 2008 Cyclone Nargis. The Shwedagon Paya was the arena for much political action during the Myanmar autonomy movement – Aung San Suu Kyi talked in 1988 here to enormous crowds and the temple was also at the center of the monks’ demonstrations in 2007.

Anyways, watch out for earthquakes, occupations, cyclones, fires and all other sort of natural or human disasters, and make your way to the Pagoda. It is certainly worth the visit. Pagoda visitors are anticipated to follow a dress code – pants and t-shirts with at least elbow-lentght sleeves. You also must enter the temple barefooted.

source of photos: Pixabay 

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