The pagodas in Myanmar always make anyone amazed to admire the stunning architecture and great scale, prominently Shwemawdaw Pagoda or “Great Golden God Pagoda” located in the north of Bago Town – the tallest pagoda of Myanmar. The local people held Shwemawdaw Pagoda’s ten-day festival in April every year.
Legend has it that over a thousand years ago, two merchant brothers, Mahasala and Kullasala went to Indian and received two hairs of Buddha. They constructed a small tower to keep the hairs. After that, the tower was expanded gradually its scale along with a number of artifacts found and transferred here and named that Shwemawdaw Pagoda. Over long lasting history, this pagoda was demolished many times by natural disasters, especially the serious earthquake in 1930 and completed the reconstruction in 1954. The campus and the inside of Shwemawdaw Pagoda were designed similarly to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, using yellow as the major color to create highlights. The distance from the ground to the top of the tower is over 114m (374 feet). From afar, the pagoda looks like a huge golden bell growing brightly in the sun.
At the entrance, a pair of stone white lions - mythical beasts of the Myanmar people stands stately, symbolizing guardians of the pagoda. There are four main stairways to lead up to the central golden stupa. Travelers are surely surprised by the impressive and sophisticated architecture inside. The details were painted meticulously showing the great ingenuity and creativity of the Myanmar people. At the northeastern corner of the stupa, the rest of Glorious Crown (HTI) after the terrible earthquake in 1930 has been tied to the structure of the stupa. There is a small museum displaying the ancient wooden, earthenware and bronze statues, the extant ruins of the earthquake and pictures which illustrate the horrible effects of natural disaster.
With the fascinating legend and the magnificent and awe-inspiring architecture, Shwemawdaw Pagoda is one of the most revered temples of Myanmar, attracting a large group Buddhist pilgrims and travelers every year.