Any trip to the city of Yangon is incomplete without a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda, a national landmark with a gleaming 99-metre stupa, considered to be one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites.
A beautiful and important monument of Buddhism, the Shwedagon Pagoda is a true marvel sat atop the Singuttara Hill, overlooking the city of Yangon , Myanmar. Comprising one main gold stupa and smaller stupas surrounding it, the sacred site dates back to more than an estimated 2,500 years - a testament to Myanmar’s resilience amid its ever-changing history -and can be seen from much of the city.
Here’s what you need to know before planning a trip to this stunning site.
What Are Stupas?
A stupa is a cone-shaped shrine that usually houses sacred relics associated with Buddhism — in this case, relics of the Buddha and Buddhist teachers. Although similar to pagodas in role and importance within Buddhist culture, stupas have a uniquely different architecture and are classified into five types based on their functions.
Type of Stupa & Function
- Relic stupa - A burial place for Buddha and his disciples
- Object stupa - A shrine that houses sacred Buddhist objects belonging to Buddha or his disciples
- Commemorative stupa - A shrine built to commemorate important events in Buddha’s or his disciples’ lives
- Symbolic stupa - A monument that reflects components of Buddhism theology
- Votive stupa - Structures built where the most-visited stupas sit
History of Shwedagon Pagoda
The Gold-Plated Stupa with a Giant Jewel
A Symbol of Myanmar’s Heritage
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a shining example of Myanmar’s long spiritual tradition. With a dedicated museum on-site documenting Buddhist history, the story of Singuttura Hill and more, the monument dominates the skyline of Yangon.