No visit to Rangon, is complete without a stop at the 2600* year old Shwedagon Zedi Daw Pagoda, the oldest and most famous in the world. Sitting atop a hill, it can be seen from any place in city of Yangon. The gold plated dome shimmers and glows, and as we read, adding to the sparkle, is the stupa containing over 7000 diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires.
If you have been to a Buddhist country, you know that one sheds their shoes before entering the temple area. I felt like a kid again, padding around in bare feet about the pagoda. There is also a strict dress code that is enforced: in additional to no shoes, socks or stockings policy, one must also not wear “Ladies blouses with wide and deep hives”, “spaghetti tops”, nor “shameless dresses” and “not good looking dresses”. It is not easy to be a tourist!
The culture is apparent in the temple area as it is a place for daily and weekly pilgrimages by the locals. Like the Kaaaba in Mecca, the Schwedagon Pagoda is one where every Buddhist feels compelled to visit at least once in their lifetime.
Although busy with prayers of the devoted, photographers, and general tourists, the pagoda site did provide some opportunities to capture the amazing dome and some of the culture surrounding it.
One cannot go barefoot without assurance there will be clean floors. And so there are the sweepers who clean the temple area at the end of the day. One doesn’t mind going barefoot as much, when you know you have clean marble stones on which to trod.
Off to Bagan… and remember, it’s all about the light, and here, it is literally golden.
Shwedagon Zedi Daw
*apparently there are no records to prove the exact age.
As always, wonderful evocative photos. Anyone can volunteer to be a sweeper, they consider it part of their service and devotion towards the Buddha. Can’t wait to see your photos from Bagan and Inle Lake.
Norman and Trish