About Shwedagon Pagoda

No visit to the Union of Myanmar is complete without a visit to the 2,500 years old Shwedagon Pagoda, which enshrines strands of Buddha's hair and other holy relics. Located west of the Royal Lake on 114 -acre Singuttara Hill in Yangon, Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the people of the Union of Myanmar. From a humble beginning of 8.2 meters, the Shwedagon Pagoda today stands close to 110 meters. Shwedagon Pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds; the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond. It is clearly one of the wonders of the religious world. Shwedagon Pagoda is a repository of the best in Myanmar heritage - architecture, sculpture and arts. The Shwedagon Pagoda consists hundreds colorful temples, stupas, and statues that reflects the architectural era spanning almost a 2,500 years.

To understand this monumental work of art and architecture, visitors will experience an insider's view of this magnificent symbol of Buddhism to the lives of the Myanmar people. Shwedagon Pagoda forms the focus of religious as well as community activities – the bustling of devotees and monks washing the statues, offering flowers, worshiping, and meditating. Shwedagon Pagoda is administered by the Board of Trustees of Shwedagon Pagoda.


While much of the pagoda's beauty derives from the complex geometryof its shape and surrounding structures, equally mesmerizing is its golden glow. It rises 326 feet (99 m) on a hill 168 feet (51 m) above the city. The lower stupa is plated with 8,688 solid gold bars, an upper part with another 13,153. The perimeter of the base of the Pagoda is 1,420 fee and its height 326 feet above the platform. The tip of the stupa, far too high for the human eye to discern in any detail, is set with 5448 diamonds, 2317 rubies, sapphires, and other gems, 1065 golden bells and, at the very top, a single 76-carat diamond.

Aerial View of the Stupa

- 4 small pagodas at the 4 cardinal point
- 64 pagodas encircle the base
- Plinth (pha-nut-taw) (20 ft 11 in)
- Terraces (paccaya) (62 ft 4 in)
- Octagonal base (Shit-hmaung) (88 ft 2in)


In the Shwedagon, the smoothness of the pagoda can be seen from top to base.
The three basics elements are:
The octagonal base. The bell-shaped dome. The conical- shaped spire.
Height ratio is
base : 22, dome : 33, spire: 55.


The Spire part of Shwedagon Divided into four parts:
1. The lowest part, which is encircled by irregularly shaped seven concentric rings (' hpaung yit ', "protuberant coils".).
2. Second part is reminiscent of the double lotus throne : an "upturned lotus", kya lan & an "inverted lotus", kya hmauk, which serves as pedestal for some Buddha images.
3. Third part of the spire, in the shaped of an elongated teardrop ( nga-pyaw-bu, "banana bud").
4. Fourth part and uppermost part of the spire is the hti, "umbrella".


Dome part of Shwedagon Consists of :
1. Circular bolts ( Kyi-wun )
2. The bell ( hkaung-laung )
3. The girdle ( yin-zi )
4. Inverted alms bowl (tha-beit- hmauk ) and
5. The festoon ( pan-zwe )


The base part of Shwedagon
The base is made up of three terraces which recede upwards on :
1. A square plinth ( 6.4m) high,
2. Octagonal terraces (paccaya): where the four sides of the cardinal points are straight-edged and the other four sides have serrated edges, and above that.
3. An Octagonal dais called the shit-hmaung, "eight-edges".