Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, Burma

“A golden mystery upheaved itself on the horizon – a beautiful winking wonder that blazed in the sun…”. So described Rudyard Kipling on setting eyes upon the truly spectacular temple that is Yangon’s, or in his day Rangoon’s, famous Shwedagon.

Shwedagon
Shwedagon

The gold leaf covered stupa towers some 100m into the Yangon skyline – topped with diamonds and rubies and surrounded by a multitude of smaller chedis, pagodas, shrines and Buddha images. An awesome sight but what we found equally fascinating were the people; – the worshippers, pilgrims, devotees, monks, nuns, holy-men and myriad visitors.

Worshippers at Shwedagon pagoda
Worshippers at Shwedagon pagoda
Praying woman
Praying woman

Absolutely engrossing stuff and almost could have believed the holy man below had been paid to pose there for exotic tourist photos by the Myanmar tourism office – perfect!

Classic pose from the holy man
Classic pose from the holy man

Think I was supposed to be appreciating the seriously sacred Buddha images, the temple’s astrological symbolism and finer points of Theravada Buddhist architecture but really the whole humanity scene was just fascinating.

Calling this one 'women with umbrellas'!
Calling this one ‘women with umbrellas’!

But just to show I was paying attention here’s some more stupas too….

Shwedagon stupas
Shwedagon stupas

Something for everyone really – awesome spot and can’t wait to get back there. We’ve got a sunset visit planned to fit into our upcoming Myanmar tour “Burma, a land quite unlike any you know” (Kipling quote), so that should be worth waiting for! Cheers!

Comments

4 thoughts on “Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, Burma

  1. Mike Stewart

    Sounds and looks awesome Mark and so pleased it as last opening back up for tourism, a much better way of spreading the word than the sanctions that have been in place for so long and made no positive impact whatsoever.

    1. Mark Ord Post author

      Sure – the generals can still deal with China, Thailand et al so most of the people affected by sanctions are just the ‘ordinary’ people anyway! Everyone is more than warn you of any restaurants, hotels, transport companies etc with govt involvement so they organize their own de fact boycott of their own govt. Apart from entrance fees at some govt run sites (Bagan, Inle etc) I’m satisfied that practically zero money does go directly to the govt. which they must very well know so perhaps an increase in tourism and tourist dollars is a more effective way of getting the guys in power to clean up their act?

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