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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Sublime Shwezigon Pagoda

Myanmar Day 4

It was my last day in Bagan. I am no longer interested in another temple run. I guess I've seen enough from the previous day. I was totally templed-out. I just wanted to chill and relax that day. I did not wake up too early, I was just taking my sweet time.


At around 8:00 AM, I went to my hostel's front desk to ask about the free breakfast. Instead of answering my question, the Receptionist told me right off that I got a message. I was bewildered thinking who the hell in Myanmar would do that, as I don't know anyone there. He took the note from his pocket and handed it over to me. He probably noticed I was still perplexed, so he exclaimed "It's the guy from Greece!". It was him, the guy I met at the Sunrise Temple and then again at the Shwezigon (chance encounters, mind you). I suddenly remembered that I stood him up for dinner. Yaiiks. I checked out the signature and yes, it was indeed from him. It says, he'll wait for me at the same restaurant for breakfast. Again. I did not go and see him there. Again. I just headed off to the Shwezigon. Again.


Now, let's talk about this beautiful pagoda. I went back here purposely because I wanted to capture it in a different light. It was dysphoric at sunset. I wanted to see it teeming with locals and full of life.

first shrine from the entrance

As usual, I made my way here again on foot. It was a leisurely walk as it was still early and the sun was just beginning to rise.

Standing Buddha

Shwezigon Paya is one of Bagan's (and Myanmar's) most significant religious structures. This was built on the 11th century.

oh that glittering beauty...

They say Shwezigon served as the original model of the Myanmar zedi. It is made up of gold leaf-gilded stupa. This pagoda enshrines a tooth relic from Sri Lanka and bones of Gautama Buddha.

young Burmese women

It is also surrounded with smaller temples and shrines. I loved taking photos of random people. :)

a monk with a tablet, how's that?  ;)

This paya is symmetrical and oriented to the east. It is 160 ft high and mainly made up of stone bricks. The smaller stupas at the corner of the terrace mirrors the main stupa.

more upclose

This time, I went around the entire complex and check out each and every shrines.

I saw this mother and child in one of the mini-temples. I politely asked if I could take photos of them but the mom refused to look at the camera. Not sure though if she undertood me hehe. That tiny monk was so adorable. :)

a cute novice monk and his mom :)

Kids at a very early age are being taught to be a good Buddhist.

Reclining Buddha

This kid with thanaka-smeared face volunteered to be photographed by me. I ask him if he likes banana, he nodded. I gave him that banana I wasn't able to eat during breakfast. His Mom gave me her sweetest smile. :)

a friendly Burmese kid :)

You will see a monk in deep prayer in any pagoda you go to. They usually just choose a quiet corner where they can offer their prayers.

Shwezigon was gloomy no more! It felt nice to mingle with the monks, the locals and fellow travelers.

Shwezigon on a busy day

the shy fruit vendor

You will normally see female children sporting a very short hair or in the case of this baby, a shaved head. That's one thing we rarely see here in the Philippines.

darling Burmese baby :)

Buddha is not hard to miss in this complex. Even in the garden, instead of putting benches under the tree, you'll see four Buddhas facing towards all cardinal directions.

the garden

It was a fun morning for me. I got to see the lively Shwezigon Paya. It was my last day in Bagan which made it all the more special. Bagan is one of those places where I felt that I am connected to the universe.

so long Bagan!

Being there was one of my most distressing travel undertaking. The everyday brownout, the limited transportation option, almost staying in a shitty hostel room and missing the divine sunset everyone was raving about. But no, I am not complaining. It's been all worth it. Through it all, I had the most amazing time of my life.

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands but a continent that joins to them.” – Francis Bacon

This is Part 8 of my Myanmar travel series.


  1. It is indeed a visual treat! Did you get to wear a tamein too?

    1. I know hehe. Yes, I did. I had a hard time getting on and off the horse cart wearing that though haha. =)