Asian art

Pagodas in Yangon region of Burma

Pagodas in Yangon region of Burma

The recorded date for the Burmese people to convert to Buddhism or the initial date for the spread of Buddhism in Burma was around 200 BCE. This was initiated under the direct supervision of Indian King Ashoka, the Great. First, the Mon Empire of Southern Myanmar were converted to Buddhism and later on other people also join the Buddhist community. As the dynasties changed in Burma, almost everyone contributed to the spread and preservation of Buddhism in the country. Mainly, by supporting in every aspect of Buddhism and also introducing different forms of Buddhist arts, and Buddha statues. Typically there were Mon style, Innwa style, Mandalay style, and Shan Style statues of Burmese Buddhas that are still preserved in the state. Along with the Buddhists arts, there were also developed localized Buddhist architecture, mostly pagodas in the country.

Burmese Pagodas

Burmese pagodas are stupas that house Buddhist relics. Burmese pagoda can be subdivided into three parts: Phaya is the top-most part of the pagoda; the solid part or bell-shaped is generally referred to Zedi, and the hollow square or rectangle buildings that are built to resemble the caves are Pahto. This Buddhist architecture is prominent features in Burma's landscape, that' why the country is also known as the  land of pagodas. There are several cities that have the abundance of pagodas and one of them is Yangon region.

Pagodas in Yangon region

In Yagoon region, there is mainly four important pagoda constructed in the different areas. These are Botahtaung Pagoda, Kaba Aye Pagoda or World Peace Pagoda, Shwedagon Pagoda, and Sule Pagoda.

Botahtaung Pagoda

Located in downtown Yangon, Burma, near the Yangon river, the Botahtaung Pagoda literally means one thousand military officers. This pagoda was built by the Mon Empire over 2500 years ago. The pagoda is known as Kyaik de att in Mon language. It is believed that the Bodahtaung pagoda houses the sacred hair of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. The relic is placed in the hollow area within the pagoda. During the world war II, the pagoda was completely destroyed but was rebuilt after the war.

Kaba Aye Pagoda or World Peace Pagoda

Built-in 1952 A.D, Kaba Aye Pagoda is formally known as Thiri Mingala Gaba Aye Zedidaw which is located at Kaba Aye Road, Mayangon Township, Yangon, Burma. The pagoda was built by U Nu in preparation for the Sixth Buddhist Council, that was organized in the Year 1954-1956. Regarding the dimension, the pagoda measures 34 m high and 34 m around the base.

Shwedagon Pagoda

The Shwedagon Pagoda, located in Yangon, Burma, is the most sacred, and 99m tall Buddhist pagoda in Burma. The locals believed that the pagoda houses relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present Kalpa. These relics are a staff of Kakusandha Buddhawater filter of Konagamana Buddha, a piece of the robe of Kassapa Buddha, and eight strands of hair from the head of Gautama Buddha. The Shwedagon pagoda is officially known as Shwedagon Zedi Daw and popularly known as Great Gagon Pagoda. Since the pagoda is gilded with gold, this pagoda is also popularly known as Golden pagoda.

Sule Pagoda

Sule Pagoda is located in the heart of downtown Yangon. It occupies the center of the city and is an important space in contemporary Burmese politics, ideology, and geography. As legends mentions, it was built before the Shwedagon Pagoda during the time of the Buddha. Hence, the pagoda is more than 2600 years old pagoda. Currently, the Sule pagoda has been the focal point of both Yangon and Burmese politics and is listed on the Yangon City Heritage List.

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View our collection of Buddhist shrines and pagodas in our gallery

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