There are literally hundreds of colorful temples, stupas and statutes reflecting thousands of years of architectural design. It is rumored that the golden shrine itself is 2500 years old and created while the Buddha still walked the earth—although that claim has been contended.
We spent over two hours on Sunday morning shooting footage here in this sacred site for our video. You can watch some of this footage later on when our video will be available for viewing. There is no question that this place is very much beloved by the local people.
Visits to these holy sites are of great importance to the people of this land. These pilgrimages have karmic value, and you can earn what I call “Buddhist bonus points” towards your karma by contemplating the infinite compassion of Buddha as you scale the steps to the stupa.
Although most people in this land are devout buddhists, they also believe strongly in a form of Astrology originating from Hindu Brahmanism. It's very important when you come to the Pagoda to know your day of birth (such as Monday, Tuesday, etc.) so that you may make the appropriate prayers and devotional acts at the correct altar devoted to that day of the week. I was informed that I was born on a Sunday. Didn't know that.
When the devout go up to the pagoda they believe they are treading the noble path where their human nature may manifest itself in good deeds of love, generosity and compassion for humanity. For others it's just a great way to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon with a peaceful stroll around the stupa.
To aid worship, the devout can secure items from vendors at the entrance including lucky charms, buddha images, candles, prayer flags, gold leaf, incense sticks, flowers, streamers and mini umbrellas!
Marketed as “one of the wonders of the religious world” the monument to My*nm*r Buddhism is an impressive site. There are donation boxes located around the temple to spontaneously attract cash and coins most of which are used to maintain the property, which is meticulously kept.
A busy day at the shrine finds monks mediating, people worshiping, and tourists bustling about with cameras. Apparently, the top of the stupa is encrusted with over 4000 diamonds including a 72 carat one.
Young and old flock to this place to offer prayers for a better life. Next up: A time of celebration with the Sh*n people as they usher in a new year on their holy calendar.