The dazzling beauty of the Shwedagon Paya

Written by David Barry ++ explore-myanmar ++

The Shwedagon Paya is much more than just another temple. It isrepparttar cultural and religious heart of Myamar. Built on a small hill in central Yangon (Rangoon)repparttar 150193 great golden dome rises almost 100m and dominatesrepparttar 150194 city skyline. Rudyard Kipling was moved to call it “a golden mystery”.

By day,repparttar 150195 dome glitters like golden fire. Sunset plays a melody of shades withrepparttar 150196 monument that never fails enchant. At night,repparttar 150197 complex is illuminated by thousands of strategically-placed spotlights. All Burmese are rightly proud of their national monument, and try to visitrepparttar 150198 site at least once in their lives.

Legend has itrepparttar 150199 main stupa (Buddhist monument inrepparttar 150200 shape of a dome) is 2,500 years old and is home to eight hairs of Buddha, although archaeological evidence suggests it was built by Mon rulers ofrepparttar 150201 area around 1,000 – 1,400 years ago. Wars, earthquakes and other calamities have taken their toll onrepparttar 150202 Shwedagon and most ofrepparttar 150203 present structure dates back to 1769.

The sacred dome is an enduring symbol ofrepparttar 150204 resilience of Burmese – or Bamah – culture. After each setback, Shwedagon is rebuilt and restored to its former glory.

Getting there is easy, asrepparttar 150205 Shwedagon is just north of central Yangon and is easilyrepparttar 150206 most popular tourist attraction inrepparttar 150207 city. Every taxi and motor rickshaw driver knowsrepparttar 150208 way. The $5 entrance fee includesrepparttar 150209 use of a lift torepparttar 150210 main floor ofrepparttar 150211 complex, but there’s nothing to stop you followingrepparttar 150212 footsteps of Buddhist worshippers and climbingrepparttar 150213 steps up Singuuttara Hill torepparttar 150214 summit. You have four covered walkways to choose from in addition to lifts atrepparttar 150215 northern and southern entrances.

Visitors are allowed from dawn until early evening. English speaking monks often offer themselves as tour guides in return for a $5 donation.

Be advised that all visitors must remove shoes and socks while inrepparttar 150216 main complex. Marble flooring is very hot around noon and slippery after rainfall, but a mat pathway is provided aroundrepparttar 150217 main stupa.

As with all Buddhist monuments, visitors are expected to walk clockwise aroundrepparttar 150218 complex. Whilerepparttar 150219 golden stupa isrepparttar 150220 central feature of Shwedagon, it is notrepparttar 150221 only attraction. Inrepparttar 150222 north-western corner isrepparttar 150223 23 tonne Maha Ganda bell which dates back torepparttar 150224 1770s. Afterrepparttar 150225 first Anglo-Burmese War in 1825,repparttar 150226 bell was seized byrepparttar 150227 British who intended to ship it to their homeland. The bell was dropped inrepparttar 150228 Yangon River andrepparttar 150229 British were unable to raise it. The Burmese were allowed to try their luck, and they placed logs and bamboo underrepparttar 150230 bell until it floated torepparttar 150231 surface and was restored to its rightful place.

Just besiderepparttar 150232 Maha Ganda pavilion is a small stupa with a golden spire. Betweenrepparttar 150233 eight niches around its base are figures of animals and birds representingrepparttar 150234 directions ofrepparttar 150235 compass andrepparttar 150236 associated sign and planet for each day ofrepparttar 150237 week (Wednesday is divided into morning and afternoon.

This theme is also displayed onrepparttar 150238 main stupa. North is represented by Friday,repparttar 150239 planet Venus and a guinea pig or mole. North-west is Wednesday afternoon, Yahu and a tuskless elephant. West is Thursday, Jupiter and a rat. South-west is Saturday, Saturn and a naga (dragon-like serpent). South is Wednesday morning, Mercury and a tusked elephant. South-east is Tuesday, Mars and a lion. East is Monday,repparttar 150240 Moon and a tiger. North-east is Sunday,repparttar 150241 Sun and a garuda (mythical winged beast like a dragon). Worshippers are supposed to pray atrepparttar 150242 site which representsrepparttar 150243 day on which they were born.

Visit California

Written by David G. Hallstrom, Sr.

Are you planning a vacation, but can't decide where to go or what to do? If you are, then stop worrying, vacation in sunny California.

California has a land area of over 155,000 square miles with almost 850 miles of coastline and beaches, 25,000,000 acres of desert, mountains, including Mount Whitney which at 14,505 feet above sea level isrepparttar second tallest mountain inrepparttar 150176 continental United States, numerous lakes, rivers and creeks, forests of all types, thousands of campgrounds and RV parks, beautiful scenery with plants and flowers of almost every type, amusement and theme parks like Disneyland and it's companion California Adventure Park, Knott's Berry Farm, Movieland Wax Museum, Legoland, Sea World, Universal Studios and Magic Mountain, zoos likerepparttar 150177 San Diego Zoo And Wild Animal Park, museums of every type, numerous art galleries and antique shops, places of worship for every religion, restaurants to fit every ethnic and cultural taste, motels, inns and hotels to fit every pocketbook, from very inexpensive to extremely luxurious, gaming casinos, nightclubs and comedy clubs, some ofrepparttar 150178 most beautiful golf courses inrepparttar 150179 world, most of which are playable year round, some ofrepparttar 150180 best wineries inrepparttar 150181 world and shopping centers and areas with almost every type and brand of merchandise you can think of.

Virtually year round, whether you likerepparttar 150182 climate hot, warm, cool or cold you can find a place to suite your taste.

California, with it's huge culturally diverse population of over 37,000,000 people, has almost every type of activity, restaurant, museum, store and hotel you can think of and it's people speak almost every modern language there is. Why go somewhere where you can not be understood, or you may not likerepparttar 150183 accomodations or food orrepparttar 150184 citizens may not like you when you can go to California and with a little bit of searching find people who understand whatever language you speak, who serve food you like, who know your customs and who value your patronage, in other words a place that suits you perfectly, a place where you are wanted.

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