Yangon, the capital city and the main gate way to Myanmar, is one of the most attractive cities of Asia. It is located on the triangle area of Yangon river and Bago river,34 km inward of the mouth of the river. It has been impressive as one of the world’s best planned cities which can be obviously seen from the straight streets and roads that intersect at right angles.
Though the former military government relocated its administrative capital to Nay Pyi Taw to central Myanmar, 200miles away from Yangon, is still retained business and commercial city. Most of the foreign embassies, UN offices, Departmental head offices and the business centers. Having many Beautiful gardens, parks and shady trees, it is known as the garden city of Asia.
The legend of Yangon dates back more than 2600 years ago, there were villages scattered along side of the Yangon river. King Okkalapa United and started his own kingdom with the help of his father king of the Heaven. His city of the kingdom was named Okkalapa later changed the named as Dagon after the founding of Shwedagon Pagoda.
According to 11th century Mon stone inscription, the place was mention as Dagon, but it was neither a seaport nor a prosperous town of Mon region. It is merely a village on the sea side in the delta of Myanmar. Once it was the land of Mon then in 1755 King Alaungmintaya, the founder of Kongbaund dynasty and third Myanmar empire, conquered Mon region in lower Myanmar, including of Dagon. The king has changed the name of the city as “Yangon” meaning “end of the enemies”, after his conquest to Dagon.
He relocated major seaport from Thanlyin to Yangon and also the business centers of European interest and other Mon importance seaports.
British developed and fulfill the infrastructure of the old city after annexation of Lower Myanmar in 1852 AD. The architectural formation and city-plan were designed to cure their homesickness and to draw the attention of foreigners for their interests. The construction-work of a new city was begun at once in order to serve the capital of British occupied Myanmar. The engineer of this construction was lieutenant A. Fraser who was the Bengal civil engineers from the infantry troop, with the consultations of Dr. William Montgomery, a surgeon. As the main roads were crossed at right-angled in block, assuming chessboard pattern, the city was reputed as the most beautiful ground-plan in Asia region.
The landmark of Myanmar, Shwedagon Pagoda stands on Singuttara Hill, 58m above sea level, dominating the Yangon skyline. It soars a further 326ft (99.4m) into the sky, a golden beacon to the Myanmar people, justifying its title as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
According to the legend, King Okkalapa was built the Pagoda over 2600 year ago to enshrine eight hairs from Gautama, along with relics from the three previous Buddhas. The king received the sacred hairs from two merchant brothers, Tapussa and Bhallika. The hairs were enshrined in a jewel-filled chamber which was covered by a gold pagoda, and subsequently, encased in layers of silver, bronze, copper, lead, marble, clay and iron brick. The original structure was 66ft (20.13m) high.
Through the history the Pagoda has been rebuilt and enlarged several times by various Myanmar kings but its design has largely remained the same.
Queen Sinsawbu (1453-1472) renovated again and made present style. The queen started the tradition of gilding the Pagoda by donating her own bodyweight in gold. She also added the terraces and enlarged the platform. Various kings have also left their mark through donating legendry bells, pagodas and the umbrellas at the top of the Pagoda. The Shwedagon Pagoda has ten distinct feafures, but the most significant is umbrella on top of the Pagoda. The umbrella itself has three sections, the hti proper, the wealthier vane (hnget myatna) and the diamond orb (seinpu). The hti proper consists of seven gold-plated concentric iron rings which taper upwards. Each ring is adorned with gold and silver bells and jewelry, all of which have been donated by the people. The wealther vane is more spectacular as its gold and silver-plated surface is encrusted with 1.100 diamonds and 1.383 other stones. It is 4ft 2in (1.2m) long and 2ft 5½ in (0.8m) wide at its widest point. Nothing, though, surpasses the beauty of the diamond orb which is studded with 4.351 diamonds, weighing 1.800 carats, 93 other precious stones and topped with a 76-carat diamond. The orb is shaped like a flower bud and is 10in (0.3m) in diameter.
The shwedagon Pagoda was also a site of great political activity against the colonial administration. Students planned their first strike here in 1920, 1946, 1988, and in 2007 mass rallies were held in the shadow of the Pagoda.
The Shwedagon Pagoda has a distinct aura of peace despite its turbulent history. It remains a symbol to the Myanmar people and is the essence of Myanmar, indestructible, indisputable and unforgettable.
This Pagoda is situated by the side of the Yangon River in East Yangon. King Okkalapa built it. When the two merchant brothers Taphussa and Bhallika brought Sacred Hairs of Lord Buddha on the 5th waxing moon of Wazo (July) in the Maha Thakarit year 103, king Ukkalapa came out to the shore with a thousand of his army officers to meet and worship the Sacred Hairs. On the site where he and his army officers awaited the arrival of the sacred Hairs was built a Pagoda known as “San Daw U”. The Mon name of this Pagoda is Kyaik Dei Ut.
The Pagoda is the object of veneration. Myanmar Kings visited it to pay homage to it and to do works of merit there. King Bodawpaya assigned U Khine, Governor of Shwe Kyin to repair and embellish it. On the 12th waxing moon of Natdaw (December) in the Myanmar year 1307 (1945) at the close of second World War the Pagoda was bombed and destroyed. One Sacred Hair and some relics were discovered in the stone casket buried in the depth of a pit in the center of the base. The Pagoda was rebuilt on an octagonal design.
The Pagoda is a hollow type Pagoda. Inside it are eight triangle shaped rooms in which relics of Buddha, and dedicated objects of various kinds are exhibited in the glassed cases protected by iron bars.
In the precinct are a turtle pond, few rest houses, and a grand devotional hall in which a finely cast bronze image of Buddha which was returned from England is housed.
Botataung Bo Bo Gyi
There is the statue of Bo Bo gyi housed in the shrine of the Pagoda precinct that is granting wishes and helping to solve the problems and difficulties of the believers.
Visitors at home and Thailand come to offer flowers and special offerings to receive special blessings.
Kaba Aye Pagoda
This Pagoda stands on a hillock called Thiri Mingalar, on the north – west of Inya Lake, seven miles north of Yangon. Kaba Aye means world peace. On the 4th waning moon of Wagaung (August) in the Myanmar Year 1312 (1950) this Pagoda was built with a wish to maintain peace throughout the world. The public provided fund for it.
Many sacred relics and religious objects were enshrined in it. The Pagoda has five faces with five bronze images of Lord Buddha in sitting posture. These five images represent five Buddhas of the Budda Kaba (the present world). Behind these images are the mural paintings in which the trees under which the five Buddha became enlightened were represented. In the Inner hall, encircling the relic vault are placed images of 28 Buddhas with their corresponding Trees under which they attained Buddha – hood.
The heigh of the Pagoda is over 78 arms length. On the 1st waning moon of Tabaung (March) in the Myanmar year 1312 (1950) the hti was ceremonially imposed on the pagoda.
In the neighborhood of the pagoda are the colossal man-made Stone Cave called “Maha Pasana Grotto” in which the 6th Buddhist Synod was held, Buddhist Art Museum and Library, Hostels for the monks, Ordination Hall and rest house. On the 1st waxing moon of Tabodwe (Frbruary) in the Myanmar year 1314 (1952) ground breaking ceremony was held to build the stone Cave. On the 8th waxing moon of Kason (May) in the Myanmar year 1316 (1954) the construction of the Stone Cave was completed. The big Cave measures 455 feet in external length and 370 feet in external breadth, 220feet in internal length and 140 feet in internal breadth.
All-round repair and renovation works are being carried out. More buildings and images were added to embellish the whole aera. A plan to create a park in the middle of Migara Vana (Deer Park) of the Buddha’s time is under implementation.
Maha Pasana Guha (Great Cave)
It was specifically built to hold the Sixth Buddhist Great Synod. The purpose of such synod is to rancidity and standardize Buddhist Scriptures through International Institute of Advanced Buddhist Studies. It is supposed to resemble India’s Satta Panni Cave where the first Buddhist Synod took place shortly after the Buddha’s death.
It is 455 feet long and 370 feet broad, and it has an assembly hall which can contain up to 10,000 people. This artificially built cave lies in the vicinity of Kaba Aye Pagoda.
Like the hub of the Dhamma Wheel, Sule Pagoda is situated in downtown Yangon, the capital of the Union of Myanmar. This Holy edifice has been there always since legendary time, for it has withstood the changes of circumstances and passage of time.
The history of Sule Pagoda is related to the legends of Shwedagon. One Legend has it that when the two merchant brothers Taphussa and Bhallika brought from living Buddha’s eight hairs as relics and presented them to king Ukkalapa, an appropriate site was looked for on the Singuttara Hill to enshrine the hairs. The King held an assembly on the hill where Sule Pagoda stands to-day to find out the old site where the relics of three previous Buddha were enshrined. Since them the hill on which the assembly took place came to be known as “Su way “(get together for meeting) hill. The structure of the main Stupa is octagonal shape from top to bottom which represent the Buddha eight fold paths or the middle way to reach Nivana.
Chauk Htat Kyi Paya
Chauk Htat Kyi Paya is the Image of lord Buddha in reclining position. It is largest reclining Buddha image of Yangon. It should be the fifth reclining Buddha image of its kind in all over Myanmar.
The couch is 230 feet in length 50 feet in breadth, and 5 feet in height. The Image is 216 ft (56m) long and 58 ft (18m) high.
This Image is the replacement of the original one which was built in 1907 by a wealthy merchant named U Po Thar. The original Image measured about 70m in length and 3 m in height.
As the original Image fell into ruin, the present Image was constructed in 1966. The original Image had no shelter, it was slanting and open air condition for all to see it from a distance. The new Image is housed in an iron structure of extraordinary dimension 280 feet long, 90 feet wide and 65 feet high.
It is amazing to see the feet part with the stucco carving on the sole of the feet which represent 108 astrological symbols. One may understand the idea of Buddhist cosmology.
It was started from the British time over 100 years ago. Covering an areas of nearly 59 acres and lying adjacent to the great Shwedagon Pagoda, the zoo, with is old- fashioned animal houses and big shady trees, draws nearly 1.4 million visitors each year. The zoo’s animal collection includes not only elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, tigers, lions, etc, but also some rare and endangered spices such as deer’s, red panda, black-necked stark etc. The botanical collection of the zoo is represent by 200 trees species, including teak (Tectona grandis).
Like most zoo of the world, the aim objectives of the zoo are recreation for the general public, education for the younger generation and conservation for some endangered species of native animals.
- Opportunities for study & recreation
- Playground for children on lawns in the shade of trees.
- Ride on elephants and donkeys.
- Restaurant and public telephone.
- Modern equipment including roller coaster at the amusement park.
- Animal shows on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
- Easy access to the study of flora and fauna.
National Museum, situated southwest of Shwedagon Pagoda, stands now on Pyay Road. The old museum was first at Jubilee hall on Shwedagon pagoda road. In 1970, it was moved to and housed on Pansodan road till 1994. It has five stories and has rich collections of antiques, cultural objects, arts and handicrafts of national races and the royal regalia, traditional musical instruments and paintings are on display. National Museum is the place where the national and cultural heritages of the entire nation are well preserved.
Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott)
The market was first built in 1926 was called in former time as Scott Market. The market named after Mr. Jarvin Scott, Rangoon Municipal Commissioner during the British colonial government. After the independence in 1948, the name has been changed to Bogyoke Aung Sun as the honor of our national leader, General Aung Sun, who fought for the independence against British. Local as well as imported household materials, textiles, woodcarvings, lacquer wares, silverwares, sculptures, jewelries and gifts are available. It is open on every day except on Monday.