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The Shwedagon stands on a platform on Singuttara Hill, one of the country's most holy places.

Shwedagon it's holiest pagoda, has relics from 3 Buddhas and eight hairs from the last Buddha enshrined within.

Shwe is the Burmese word for gold and Dagon means three hills.  Nobody knows how old it is, but it was well established by the 11th century

Detail on the Southern entrance.

The hill was leveled off in the 15th century when Queen Shinsawpu donated her weight in gold to embellish the stupa with gold leaf.  Her successor contributed four times his weight and the faithful have been plating it ever since.

In 1929 it was almost destroyed by fire and in 1930 and 1970 by earthquakes.

The main platform can be reach via four stairways.   This is the Southern entrance where we could have used the elevator but opted to climb the stairs.  The Western entrance has a flight of escalators designed for foreign visitors. 


The climb is well worth the effort as the covered walkways are crowded with vendors selling flowers, both real and beautifully fashioned paper offerings, incense, ceremonial umbrellas, Buddha images, monks robes, prayer beads and increasingly I imagine, tourist souvenirs.  

Beside the covered walkway is a parallel flight of steps also flanked with vendors but these seem more geared to a monastic clientele.

Towards the top of the 104 steps we paid our $5 entrance and nominal camera fees, placed our proof of payment sticker prominently on our shirts and stepped from the cool dark entrance onto the glorious glittering platform which is Shwedagon.
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