It was lazy afternoon and too humid to leave our respective air-conditioned rooms. Wonder Mom Gay and Luna Doll are both not feeling well while the rest of the gang are busy on their two wheeled journey around Old Bagan. Braving the heat outside our well appointed rooms, Monette, Ron and I decided to rent a horse cart and visit Shwezigon Pagoda.
Entrance to the Pagoda
What I love about the ancient town of Old Bagan is you need not to worry about not having good places to see. By just going outside your hotel, you can get on board for a typical historical voyage by visiting some uniquely designed temples and other monuments. Old Bagan has many places which are historically significant but what I appreciate more is their well preserved culture.
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The Golden Shwezigon Pagoda
On our way to the temple, we had a quick stop in a store that manufactures and sells beautifully handcrafted Monks Umbrella. With so many designs and colors, Monette settled for the authentic red design which is still being used by Burmese monks.
Ron and Monette
Few minutes after, we finally reached the entrance to the temple after passing a long corridor full of vendors selling local produces and souvenirs on both sides. We walked along a colonnaded pathway to get to the huge temple from the main dusty road. The beautiful sunrays from the east made the pathway so photographic that we had to stop for a moment and play with the light.
Shwezigon Pagoda can be regarded as one of the most significant historical structures in Myanmar. This pagoda is situated towards the north east part of Old Bagan just four miles away at Nyaung U. This monument functions as an archetype for many other monuments built across Myanmar.
Other Temples inside the compound
Shwezigon Pagoda is typically a national center of worship as different groups of people or pilgrims land from varied parts of the world mostly during the months of November /December. According to the Burmese calendar it is during the “Nadaw” month (English calendar months –November/December) the festival is celebrated marking the religious importance of Burmese Buddhism.
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The Shwezigon Pagoda
This shrine was built up by King Anawrahta and later finished by King Kyanzittha in 1089. Shwezigon Pagoda is typically a bell shaped dome with lotus design patterns and the body of this pagoda is built with bricks.
Afternoon visit to the temple
Across the terraces of Shwezigon Pagoda, there are enameled plaques exemplifying the early lives of Lord Buddha. Burmese Buddhist believes or worships the place of Shwezigon Pagoda for the reason that it holds the tooth and frontal bones of Lord Buddha. The pagoda consists of 4 main image houses on each side which is called “Kyey Gu Taik” holding 4 different statues of Buddha.
Sugarcane Juice Vendor
The Buddha statues are deeply gilted and cast in alloy and are said to be some of the very last images still in existence from ancient days. Towards the eastern side of Pagoda, a 10 cm circular arrangement is constructed in a stone slab. This is mainly built to look at the mirror image of pagoda top umbrella formerly by monarchs. An arrangement is made for the visitors or pilgrims to enjoy a telescopic top view of “Hti” (pagoda top umbrella) which is decorated during the festival season. The pagodas are surrounded by bunches of zayats (rest houses) and other shrines of different periods.
Burmese Kid wearing Thanaka
To appreciate the golden structure more, all you need is to stand in front of the pagoda and click the shutter of the camera to capture all it’s spectacular beauty. No need for special filter or expensive lenses… believe me, I used my iPhone in most of my photos here.
Before we return to our respective horse carts, we rewarded ourselves by having lime flavored sugarcane juice which is a popular refreshment in Myanmar. It was really good and thirst quenching and it taste so much better than cola.
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If you are planning to visit Shwezigon Pagoda, you need not to get an expensive tour package to experience it. Just rent a bike or a horse cart and ask the driver to bring you to the Pagoda.