Shwedagon Pagoda

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The Shwedagon Pagoda, also known in English as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a 99 metres (325 ft)[citation needed] gilded pagoda and stupa located in Yangon, Burma. The pagoda lies to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, on Singuttara Hill, thus dominating the skyline of the city. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese with relics of the past four Buddhas enshrined within: the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa and eight strands of hair from Gautama, the historical Buddha. Uppatasanti Pagoda is an exact replica of Shwedagon Pagoda in Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma.

There are four entrances to the Paya that lead up a flight of steps to the platform on Singuttara Hill. The eastern and southern approaches have vendors selling books, good luck charms, Buddha images, candles, gold leaf, incense sticks, prayer flags, streamers, miniature umbrellas and flowers. A pair of giant leogryphs called chinthe guard the entrances and the image in the shrine at the top of the steps from the south is that of the second Buddha, Konagamana. The base or plinth of the stupa is made of bricks covered with gold plates. Above the base are terraces that only monks and men can access. Next is the bell-shaped part of the stupa. Above that is the turban, then the inverted almsbowl (သပိတ္ thabeik), inverted and upright lotus petals, the banana bud and then the crown. The crown or umbrella (ထီး hti) is tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. Immediately before the diamond bud is a flag-shaped vane. The very top, the diamond bud is tipped with a 76 carat (15 g) diamond.

The gold seen on the stupa is made of genuine gold plates, covering the brick structure and attached by traditional rivets. Myanmar people all over the country, as well as monarchs in its history, have donated gold to the pagoda to maintain it. The practice continues to this day after being started in the 15th century by the Mon Queen Shin Sawbu, who gave her weight in gold.
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