Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda

If you visit Yangon in Myanmar, make sure you visit its famous Shwedagon Pagoda. To date, it is the most magnificent temple I've visited. It even eclipses the temples of Thailand.

We left Sleep In Hostel that morning after a hearty breakfast and started our walk to look for Shwedagon Pagoda.

Sleep In Hostel is located in an alley in Chinatown which is a superb location near shops and hawker stalls. Can you spot the hostel's red signage in this pic?

After lotsa walking, detours and getting lost, we arrived at a park which was opposite Shwedagon Pagoda.

We saw this plane in the park:

Who could resist a plane in a park. So we took a closer look at the plane and exploring its tyres, propeller, wings, etc. We even tried to climb inside the plane but its doors were locked.

Soon our stomachs were screaming 'hunger!'. So we stopped at one of the stalls in the park for lunch:

 I learned how to make the onion salad in the pic. Method: Slice an onion and rub salt all over. Then squeeze lime or lemon juice over it. This salad makes a simple rice dish taste so appetising. 

While having lunch the heavens opened and it started raining cats and dogs:

We visited Yangon in July which was during the rainy season and it was raining almost everyday. Sometimes the rains can be pretty fierce.

After waiting for about 1.5 hours, the fierce rains reduced its fury into a drizzle. Then we decided to make a run to the pagoda entrance. 

There were two huge statues at the entrance that looked like Fu dogs to me. They were huge mothers and now I'm regretting that I didn't snap pics of those dogs.

Entry into Shwedagon Pagoda is 8,000 Kyat:

We removed our shoes and left them at the entrance. All visitors must go into the pagoda barefooted. Socks are not allowed too. Yikes.

The walk to the main pagoda complex was an interesting one as we had to pass an escalator:

First time in my life I'm seeing an escalator in a pagoda. See what I told you about socks and shoes not allowed in the pagoda ...

The sheer size of its halls was enough to make me wonder how the main building would look like:

 That's Angie trying to snap a pic of the hall.

Soon we reached the main complex and I was amazed at its beauty.

As it was raining, monks and visitors walked on the green tarpaulin to avoid falling down on the slippery marble floors.

Angie mentioned that since socks and shoes are not allowed inside, it was probably a good idea to visit the pagoda during the rainy season as all dirt and animal faeces (temples/pagodas in Myanmar are full of these) are washed away easily.

Just imagine if we had visited Shwedagon Pagoda or Myanmar for that matter during the dry season. Our feet would be covered with faeces after each visit to a temple/pagoda. 

I was standing here marvelling at the stupas when I saw a family struggling with their irritated child. The child was not used going barefeet and getting his feet wet. So he refused to walk and wanted to be carried instead. Sometimes this is a reason not to have kids.

After walking around we entered a small building where there was an exhibition on Shwedagon Pagoda:

We sat down on the timber floors to rest our weary legs.

The down part about visiting Yangon during the rainy season is that it was difficult to snap pics as I was afraid to bring my camera out in case it gets wet. And that is why I don't have more pics of this marvellous pagoda to share with you. But do visit Shwedagon Pagoda if you're in Yangon, you won't be disappointed.

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