Barely into the walking steadily on two feet part of his life, the small boy pressed his hands together in worship and bowed in front of the gilded symbol of Burma’s heritage. His act of homage earned him coos and aahs from his family and a gentle pat on the head from a nearby watching monk.
The boy and his family were just a few of the mixture of the indigenous devout and foreign tourists circling the golden spire, the centrepiece of a compound of 83 buildings. While the tourists took photographs the devout knelt and prayed before the numerous images of the Buddha.
Over 2500 years the Shwedagon Pagoda, built to celebrate the receipt of eight hairs of the Buddha, has risen in height from just over eight metres to almost 100 metres tall. Today the stupa is plated with 21,841 gold bars and studded with 7,765 gemstones, 1065 golden bells and capped with a 76 carat diamond.
Entrance to Shwedagon Pagoda is $8 between 4am and 10pm.