One of Myanmar’s most stunning architectural treasures is the Shwedagon Temple, built in the later half of the first millennium CE and contains the supposed relics of Buddhas.
Creative commons image by ppbaud
Glorious Golden Pagoda
Wall Street Journal, 23 February 2008
The magnificent exception is the Shwedagon, Burma’s glorious, golden pagoda. Rising 320 feet from its base atop steep Singuttara Hill, on the outskirts of old Rangoon, the Shwedagon looms over the approaching pilgrim at a height equivalent to that of the Pyramid of Cheops, the tallest structure in the world until the Eiffel Tower was completed. Shwedagon means “golden hills,” and the place lives up to its name with fabulous excess: Since the Buddhist shrine was raised a thousand years ago, the devout of Burma have repeatedly replated the surface of its central, bell-shaped stupa with gold, which is now estimated to weigh more than 100,000 pounds. The ornamental crown, the hti, is set with thousands of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, topazes and sapphires; at the apex, a 76-carat diamond may be seen twinkling for miles at dawn and sunset.
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