Shwemawdaw Pagoda

The Shwemawdaw or ‘Great Golden God Pagoda’ of Bago has been growing for more than 1000 years. This structure can be seen from some distance across the plains given its height. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda whose spire can be seen behind this impressive entrance portal, was originally built by the Mon to a height to 23 meters in the 8th century and was rebuilt higher several times until it finally reached its present 114 meter stature in 1954. The pagoda was originally built by 2 merchants, Taphussa and Bhalita, to house some hair relics of the Buddha. Originally built to a height of 23 meters, it has over the centuries become the tallest of the Burmese pagodas. As with other pagodas, this growth in size occurred during numerous reconstruction periods, usually following great earthquakes. The most recent quake, in 1930, nearly leveled the ancient structure and it was not until 1952 that it again dominated the Bago skyline. The legends say that enshrined beneath the towering pagoda are the hairs and teeth of the Buddha. Because of these relics, Shwemawdaw is visited by throngs of Buddhist pilgrims during all hours of the day and night.

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