The Botataung Pagoda

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The Botataung Pagoda you see today was built in 1948, but the original temple was here over 2500 years ago. This pagoda is also called the Buddha’s First Sacred Hair Relic Pagoda, because inside the pagoda is believed to be a sacred hair of Gautama Buddha. In addition to this sacred relic, the inside of the pagoda is known for its gold-covered walls and currently houses displays of Buddhist artefacts, a bit like a museum.

A note on terminology: a stupa is a dome structure, most usually solid inside; a temple is not solid, usually houses a statue and/or paintings of a buddha, and often has a stupa on the top; the term pagoda is the collection of stupas and temples at one site. Or maybe not! As you will see, these terms are often interchangable.

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We needed to go through a security device to enter this pagoda, such is the value of its contents. For most pagodas, we needed to remove our shoes and socks, so it is useful to find the shady outside areas to walk on otherwise the floors are very hot.

At this pagoda, there was a lady keeping an eye on the shoes and helping us old-folk with a chair to make things easier!

Here are some views from inside the pagoda, including the hair of the Buddha (below left) ……..

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Outside the stupa were shrines to worship at depending on your day of birth. There are eight ‘days' in the Buddhist week and it turns out that both Lawrence and I are Wednesday morning babies, so we would pray to the elephant with tusks (the elephant without tusks is for Wednesday afternoon babies). Our shrine is shown on the left.

Across the road from the pagoda is a prayer hall where one leaves offerings in the hope of good fortune in return.

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And here is our lady guide buying a lottery ticket just outside the prayer hall. Since the New Year was coming up, this would make an especially auspicious time to play the lottery; I hope she was lucky. 

The pagoda is near the Yangon River and pigeons here are the luckiest of all, being well fed by the local people.

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© Helen Gray 2021