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Savor the Sights and Sounds of Downtown Yangon, Myanmar with a Visit to Sule Pagoda

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The Sule Pagoda is a stupa in downtown Yangon, near the waterfront.  It occupies a busy intersection in Yangon, at the junction of Sule Pagoda Road and Mahabandoola Road, making it a part of the city’s economic and public life.  The pagoda is over 2 millennia old, with estimates putting the construction of the stupa at 230 BC.

According to Burmese legend, the Sule Pagoda was built even before the Shewdagon and the spot where the pagoda currently stands was once home to a powerful nat (spirit).  A piece of Buddha’s hair is also believed to be enshrined within the pagoda.  Sule Pagoda went through numerous restorations but the only change to the actual look of it came in the mid-15th century when it was enlarged to its present size by Queen Shin Shawbu.

The Sule Pagoda is an excellent landmark, owing to its central location in the city.  The British used the stupa as the exact center when they were rebuilding Yangon and establishing its Victorian grid plan of streets in the 1880’s.

The stupa’s design is Mon influenced.  It is 48 meters high and is octagonal- shaped, which is considered unusual for a Burmese pagoda.  There are four entrance points facing the four cardinal directions.  Surrounding the pagoda are ten bronze bells of different sizes, with inscriptions of the temple’s donors and the dates of their dedications.  In addition, there are also small shops and several fortune telling stands in the immediate area.

There are a series of smaller shrines within the complex, each dedicated to a different nat (each representing a different astrological sign).  Each of these shrines houses a silver or gold image of the deity, where worshippers may offer their alms to these spirits.  The pathway around the pagoda is circular, which represents one’s journey through the celestial sphere.  There are also statues occupying each of the four entrance points, each representing different incarnations of the Buddha.

Yangon is the perfect introductory destination of your Burmese tour.  Exotissimo will start off your Myanmar Special tour with an opportunity for you to discover the country’s cultural capital, with visits to numerous sites, temples and pagodas.  If you are looking for a thorough experience in Yangon, why not try our Highlights of Yangon & Surroundings tour?  Not only will we take you to the city’s main attractions, but also to Yangon’s surrounding areas.  Here, Real Burma is revealed to you as you experience tranquil teashops, quiet neighborhood temples and enigmatic people not afraid to open their hearts and talk to strangers.  Learn how you can tailor make any of our recommended tours by contacting us.

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