Stand before Shwedagon Pagoda’s golden stupa, and you’ll feel as if you’re standing in the very center of the Burmese spiritual universe.
This historic spire stands on Singuttara Hill in the middle of Yangon—built in 600CE to hold relics from four different Buddhas, Shwedagon stands some 105m high, with 27 metric tons of gold plate, gold leaf and priceless gems covering its surface.
Shrines surround the golden spire host devotees seeking their particular spiritual purpose. Some pour water over a Buddha statue representing the day they were born, while others pray for success at the Victory Ground. And a good number of locals (and not a few tourists) come just to take in the atmosphere, and the frenetic beauty of the shrines and temples arranged higgledy-piggledy around the golden stupa.
Four stairways approach the central spire from the four cardinal directions. Visitors to Shwedagon are required to leave their shoes before climbing to the main terrace.