Travel Myanmar | Pagodas
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Being a global centre of Buddhism, Myanmar has some of the oldest and best pagodas in the world. The country is often termed the Land of Pagodas. No one knows the exact number of pagodas that can be found in the country. Big or small, each pagoda is unique, presenting stunning sights to tourists and insightful lessons about Myanmar’s history and culture.

Pagodas of Myanmar dominate the country’s skyline. They can be made of brick or teakwood, with some gilded in gold and some others enshrining Buddha’s remains. Each pagoda has its distinctive characteristics and architecture.

ICONIC STRUCTURES

SHWEDAGON PAGODA
Location: Yangon

The beautiful golden Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most stunning religious structures of Myanmar. The 326-foot-tall pagoda is completely gilded in gold with 4,000 precious stones and diamonds on the top. Shwedagon is the most revered Buddhist monument in the country. It is visible from afar in downtown Yangon. The complex is marvellous, complete with innumerable smaller stupas. The monument is peaceful and ideal for spending a few moments in silence.

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SULE PAGODA
Location: Yangon

A part of the Yangon City Heritage List, Sule Pagoda is considered to be older than the Shwedagon. Located to the south of Shwedagon in the happening area of downtown Yangon, Sule has been an important part of the country’s politics and ideology. Legend has it that Sule Pagoda was built during the time of Buddha and is around 2,600 years old.

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SHWEZIGON PAGODA
Location: Bagan

Also known as Shwezigon Paya, this Buddhist temple is one of the ideal Buddhist stupas consisting of a circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smaller shrines and temples. The entire complex is quite large, making this pagoda one of the largest in Myanmar. This is one of the most respected Buddhist religious places in the country, enshrining a tooth and bone of Buddha. The pagoda is shaped like a cone with a central solid core surrounded by five square terraces.

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KUTHODAW PAGODA
Location: Mandalay

Located at the foot of the Mandalay Hill, this pagoda is an important structure of the city. It contains the world’s largest book in the form of 729 marble slabs. Each slab is inscribed on both sides with text from the Tripitaka, which is the Buddhist scriptures written in Pali. The monument is 188 feet high and gilded above the terraces. The pagoda resembles the Shwezigon Pagoda of Bagan.

HISTORICAL MARVELS

MAHAMUNI PAGODA
Location: Mandalay

The Mahamuni Pagoda is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, located towards the southwest of Mandalay city. The Mahamuni Buddha image inside this pagoda is believed to be originally from the Arakan. According to legends, Buddha visited Arakan in 554 BC where King Sanda Thuriya requested him to cast his image. After the image was cast, Buddha breathed upon it. This cast image is housed inside the Mahamuni Pagoda. People from all over central Myanmar come to this pagoda to pray.

KYAIKTIYO GOLDEN PAGODA
Location: Mon State

Built on a golden boulder located on a cliff of Mount Kyaiktiyo, this beautiful pagoda is the identity of the Mon State of Myanmar. Although small, this pagoda is the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon. It enshrines a strand of Buddha’s hair. This pagoda is considered to be the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Myanmar after Shwedagon Pagoda and Mahamuni Pagoda.

KYAUKTAWGYI PAGODA
Location: Amarapura, Mandalay Region

Kyauktawgyi Pagoda is located in Amarapura, on the banks of the Taungthaman Lake. Built in 1847 following the design of Ananda Pagoda, Kyauktawgyi Pagoda holds historical importance. The architecture of the pagoda exhibits a perfect balance of the finesse of Bagan’s architects and Indian influences. It carries artistic significance due to the presence of several stunning frescos.

MAHAZEDI PAGODA
Location: Bago Region

This beautiful pagoda with a white base and golden top was built in 1560 by King Bayinnaung. It was originally meant to hold the gold and jewel-encrusted chest containing the tooth relic of Buddha. The pagoda was destroyed several times by earthquakes and was completely destroyed in 1930. The pagoda that visitors see today was rebuilt in the 1950s.