Photographs by George P. Landow. Click on images for to enlarge them.

Left: A field of stupas. Right: The market at U Nyaung (or Nyaung Oo), where one buys local, handrolled cheroots.

The Shwezigon Pagoda

"Located north of Bagan, the golden pagoda is the most famous of all Bagan's monuments. King Anawratha, 1044-1077, Bagan's first king, had it built to reflect the establishment of Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar and to encase relics he had obtained: The collar and the frontal bone of the Buddha, a copy of the Buddha's toothfrom Ceylon, and an emerald buddha from Yunnan" — Ali Kennedy, Ayeyarwady River (Road to Mandalay guidebook).

Left: The entrance to the Schewzigon Pagoda. Middle left: The covered passageway into the pagoda compound. Middle right: Looking from the axis of the temple to the right. Right: A view from one of the arcades.

Left: The main gilded stupa of the pagoda, which our guide told us was the principal, or most important, one in this area of thousands of pagodas. Middle: The pagoda. Middle right: The carved and painted scenes from the life of Buddha. Right: The pagoda with a flock of local birds.

Left: Middle: An old woman smoking a cheroot, a young devotee, and the building housing the 27 official spirits (or nats). A Burmese king, who wished to elevate Buddhism above the local animist cults, had images of all the local spirits brought to this pagoda. Emphasizing that they worshipped the Buddha, he tried to make clear their subservient position. Right: A building in which visitors to the pagoda enjoyed their mid-day meal.


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Last modified 17 April 2001