March 15, 2014

Golden Night at Shwedagon Pagoda

There were night that you just want to relax and be amazed. It doesn't feel right to do something physical active. You were there to observe, feel every magic encompass, the height of the overwhelming moment was to great to be ignored. Who would not be in the towering golden Pagoda of Shwedagon? 

The sea of devotee from all over Asia were filing each spot with their notorious devotion over the image of their birth and to the great Buddha. 



In the buzzling and developing city of Yangon is where one of the treasure of Burma is expose to the locals and pilgrims for their devotion and - for non-Buddhist tourist for their amazement. Surely, I fell on the latter. Safe to say that my amazement equated the devotion of each and every Buddhist devotee around me.



The 325 meters golden Stupa and Pagoda is considered as the most sacred of the thousand of Pagodas across Burma. It is said that the ancient people of Yangon donated their golds/jewelries to construct Shwedagon Pagoda. People in Burma loves wearing gold which is abundant in their land. The ancient Burmese sacrificed their golds, their wealth for this grand place of worship. Now they left a treasure not only the Burmese nor the Buddhist appreciate, Shwedagon is a world landmark worthy of visit.




Talk about being Asian, Southeast Asian to be specific, my friend Ian avoided the $7 entrance fee for tourist because authorities thought he's a Burmese! Oh sure with his look and proper use of long yi. Me on the other hand was approached by authorities and asked me to pay the entrance fee. I asked the guy, how do you know if somebody is a Burmese or not? He gave me a smile and said I am wearing the long yi the wrong way. I smiled back and pay. So if you want to avoid the entrance fee, wear the long yi properly. I wanted to give you more tips how to avoid the entrance fee but I realize that that is not responsible blogging.    





When the twilight comes the lust of favorable humid flows. The drama of the day setting and the night starting has just began. Followed by the set of men, volunteers I guess, sweeping the marble floors. Ian wanted to join them but I was evasive to his idea because I was enjoying the moment of the dramatic changing of colours.



We sat down watching the Golden Stupa with such grand amazement. And yes you see it right in the picture... Don't think of Burma as your too Ancient country - yes it is - oh boy, it is the only major religious temple I have seen so far that offers wireless connection. Oops don't think that it's speed is ancient too. Its fast! I can upload pictures on my Instagram account in an instant!




The highlight though was when we were sitting doing the selfie thing, we saw a set of men and women putting palm oil and cotton strips in a small container. Curious what is it for we asked the obvious question - "what are you going to do? Some answered but due to language barrier I was not satisfied. 

But I was excited. I know the magic is about to happen. There is something in the night where liting of little fires dominated the whole area with the cold wind blowing - its a spirit filled atmosphere where angels interacts with the Buddhas of your birthday.   

To my excitement Ian and I asked them if we could help putting oil and cotton strips. You have to fill the circumferential area of the Pagoda, so we better help to fast track the magic. Without any words one handed us the strips of cotton and we began putting it on a small container with palm oil. It was fulfilling. I was overjoyed knowing that I have just joined the locals on their ritual. Later I noticed that a lot of tourist were doing it as well. I smiled, Ian and I were the catalyst of a bayanihan - talk about bringing Filipino custom abroad? 




It was a serene night. Nothing refresh the soul than praying and talking to God in whatever manner. Local people and pilgrims as well devotedly bowing in every spot of the Shwedagon Pagoda surely made their wishes come true. 

With its gold and magic Shwedagon Pagoda is Burma's priceless treasure.

Burma Series

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This is the travel blog of Jherson Jaya - banker by profession, adventurer by passion. Everything written here were based on his experiences. The lust of seeing new places thrilled him to explore both the explored and unexplored world. Old and new architecture fanatic; lover of food, both exotic and indulgence; and founds peace in long bus and train rides - that's how he describe his way of traveling.    

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