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Shwedagon, remarkable stupa
One of the most majestic Burmese pagodas is in the capital Yangon, formerly Rangoon. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a remarkable stupa and the first religious center of Myanmar (formerly Burma) because it contains the relics of 4 successive Buddhas including 8 hairs of Gautama Buddha, the one who experienced enlightenment in Bodghaya in India and who founded the Buddhist religion .
History of Shwedagon Pagoda
As is often the case, religious texts and archaeologists' findings do not coincide and while the texts locate the founding of Shwedagon from the time of Gautoma Buddha's lifetime in the 6th century BCE, archaeologists have found no evidence. of these statements. For archaeologists, Shwedagon would have been built between the 6th and the 10th century AD.
Obviously, the site was not always as majestic as it is today and has undergone many transformations over time. Already in 1360, the original stupa was in a state of disrepair requiring the then king Binnya U, a reconstruction. The monument then reached nearly 20 meters in height.
Later, in the 15th century, major works were started to enlarge and embellish the pagoda. The queen of the time offered her weight in gold to cover the stupa. This tradition would have been perpetuated by his successors. The first of his successors offered a huge bell weighing several tons to decorate the pagoda, but at the beginning of the 17th century this bell was stolen by a Portuguese adventurer. This bell is said to have gotten lost in the river near Bago and has never been found since.
Burma is located in a region with strong seismic activity, which explains the damage caused by a series of earthquakes. That of 1768 caused the collapse of the stupa which was subsequently repaired and enlarged to take its current form. A new bell was offered by the successor of the king who rebuilt the pagoda. This bell weighed 24 tons and it too was stolen, this time by the British occupiers and it too sank into a river. It was however recovered, but much later, in 1926. It is visible on the site now.
In the 20th century the site was destroyed by fire in 1931 and an earthquake damaged the stupa again in 1970.
Shwedagon was the scene of an attack organized by North Korea against the South Korean president in 1983, killing 17 people including 4 South Korean ministers.
The main pagoda nowadays reaches a height of 98 meters and its base is made up of thousands of gold plates. 64 small pagodas (pagodons) surround the main stupa.
On the site there is also a column inspired by the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgays, where Buddha found enlightenment. This column is called "Buddha column" and relates the life of Gautama Buddha.
about the place, Yangon:
Yangon: Also known as Rangoon, the city was the administrative capital of the country until 2006, when a brand new city was built to house state services (Naypyidaw) in the north of the country.
Yangon is the most populous city in the country and is home to, among other things, the large pagoda covered with gold, the Shwedagon.
The city has more than 5.5 million inhabitants.
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