YANGON AND THE 8th WONDER OF THE WORLD
"WHY THIS place is not one of the wonders of the world?" — This was the first thing that came through our minds when we saw the INCREDIBLE N' WONDERFUL pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. I'll fail to have enough adjectives to describe the jaw-dropping sensation that was to experience this temple.
> A LITTLE 'HISTORY MOMENT'
Here goes a little bit of history to understand the meaning and importance of this wonder. According to Buddhist history, the pagoda is more than 2500 years old and was raised to hold relics of Gautama Buddha, and three other Buddhas predecessors to him. It is believed that 8 strands of Prince Siddhartha's hair and other sacred relics that were donated to the Burmese people by Lord Buddha himself are treasured here.
These relics are stored in the heart of the golden 'bell' structure. A pagoda is essentially a layered structure, and Shwedagon was also built like that. The building process consists of a golden pagoda surrounded by a silver pagoda, then covered by another of gold and copper alloys, then a bronze pagoda, an iron and lead pagoda, a marble pagoda, and finally an iron brick pagoda, all covered with gold leaves.
> IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DETAILS
The monument today is 99m high, covered entirely in gold, with over 7000 diamonds, rubies and other precious stones. The whole complex is the equivalent of 46 football fields, and the H-U-G-E 'bell' structure is the centerpiece of the temple.
(And it's reaaaaally enormous, look at this picture here and find the two monks climbing the pagoda so you can have a sense of the magnitude of this wonder) ↓
OMG! The richness of all the details and architecture of all this makes you think it's unreal, and think: How do we know so little about this place?????
> APPLE OF MY EYE
Well, mostly because untill 2011 Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was a 'closed country' for foreigners. The military dictatorship and a bureaucracy for visas made it 'a bit difficult' to explor. Much has changed and today Myanmar is the "apple of my eye" for the ones who look for a great cultural adventure.
The city of Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar and the largest in the whole country. Our 8th wonder is definitely the highlight of the city and, in our opinion, Shwedagon is for Myanmar just as the Taj Mahal is for India. A Burmese friend has told us that every Buddhist should peregrinate here at least once in their lives, just as the Muslims do with Kaaba, in Mecca.
> LIFE'S WONDER
The historical, religious, cultural and architectural importance alone should be enough to make this monument one of the 7 wonders of the world. Now take that and add this feeling: imagine you entering the pagoda, with the sun still shining over your head, and your feet touching the marble floor, only barefoot feeling all the energy flowing from the ground?!?!?!
Start wandering around (always clockwise, of course), watching what each person is doing there. Then keep going until you find the day of the week you were born and do the ritual with prayers and a wish.
And if during the day that gold and marble majestic have not yet conquered your eyes, wait for the sun to set and then see it all lighting up at night. Prayers and songs take up the air, and a golden light takes over the sky. Oohhh, it is an experience so full of emotions that it not even possible to put into words.
Okay! It's settled then :) We did choose the 8th wonder of the world and it has name and surname: Shwedagon Pagoda ❥