View of Shwedagon Pagoda
Early morning view of Shwedagon Pagoda from our hotel - Kandawgyi Palace (www.kandawgyipalace.com).
View of Shwedagon Pagoda
From Lake Kandawgyi.
View of Kandawgyi
View from our hotel room of one of the many wooden walkways traversing Kandawgyi. The name means Royal(dawgyi) Lake(kan).
Buddha at Sule Pagoda
One of the most centrally located pagodas in Yangon. As can be seen here, the buddha shrines are often lit up with multi-colored blinking lights - part carnival, part church.
Moseah Yeshua Synagogue
Founded over 100 years ago, this synagogue was orignally founded by sephardic Jews from Iraq and India. In the 1960s and 1970s many Jews fled Burma. Now only eight Jewish families comprise the entire congregation.
Buddha at Chaukhtagyi Pagoda
230-foot long reclining Buddha was being cleaned at the time of our visit.
There is a 8.5 carat diamond placed between its eyes. 551 smaller diamonds are also attached to the statue. If that isn't enough, one ton of gold leaf is stamped on the body!
Feet of the the Buddha
The feet are inscribed with the 108 sacred symbols of Buddha enlightenment. (Our guide - Oo Oo Myat Khaing - can be seen in front of the feet.)
Big feet with big guys
Early evening at Shwedagon Pagoda. The original pagoda was constructed about 2,500 years ago but, because of numerous earthquakes, it has been rebuilt several times. There are four stairways - one for each direction - leading up to the main circular walkway.
There are 64 smaller pagodas, 4 main prayer pavilions, 8 zodiac prayer posts and numerous other shrines and temples that comprise this complex.
Sweepers at Shwedagon
"Volunteer" sweepers rotate clockwise around the main walkway. As in all Buddhist temples, footwear is not allowed -so floors need to be kept clean.
Every person has an animal symbol (elephant, garuda, etc.) and a planet symbol (Mars, Venus, etc.) associated with the day of the week on which they were born. At different zodiac shrines, believers participate in a water pouring ritual.
Nat at Shwedagon
One of the 37 spirits ("nats")that Burmese Buddhists also revere. Nat worship is a pre-Buddhist practice that attributes a live soul to natural objects.
The main stupa
The main stupa is over 300 feet tall. It is entirely sheathed in gold leaf and constructed of over 20,000 solid gold bricks!
We joined in with the water pouring ritual at our zodiac station. We were both born on a Sunday. Our animal symbol is a garuda and our planet symbol is the sun.
The bell is struck three times to announce merit that you have performed.
Shwedagon at dusk
The tip of the pagoda contains over 10,000 diamonds, rubies and sapphires. The top is crowned by a 76-carat diamond.
Shwedagon at night
The pagoda is open every day until 9:30 p.m.