Yangon: Schwedagon Pagoda

Yangon’s highlight is Myanmar’s holiest Buddhist site- Schwedagon Pagoda. According to local folklore, it is over 2500 years old. Not a tile looked that old, though. The temple has been maintained, built up and along, all these years. The main pagoda is enormous, rising  and reflecting above the nearby buildings. The n itself has expanded to include many smaller pagodas and shrines.

I went after dark, hoping to capitalize in night lighting while avoiding the heat at the same time. I was richly rewarded. The temple ground were still bustling with activity.

I assumed the place would be strung up with tacky Christmas lighting or stadium lights. Not the least. Street-lamp style posts were strategically placed and the reflection of the gold did the rest of the work.

I cannot imagine how jam packed it is in the morning hours if this was considered light traffic. Monks lounged around, socializing with one another and laypeople. Locals gathered in their prayer groups. Elders gossiped, probably having started since dawn. Pilgrims strolled their rounds, half praying half take photos with their cellphones.

For the first time since arriving to Yangon, I finally felt like there’s a place for peace and sanctuary. Despite, or because of, all the people milling around, there still was a subdued tone. It wasn’t quiet, not the least. But the hum of activity was unrushed, unhurried. Despite appearances of the people acting more social than devout, the reverence was in the air.

 

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