Yangon Attractions – Sule Pagoda

Jul 1 2014 No Comments

Sule, a derivative of the Myanmar word Su-way, means ‘meeting’. Indeed, it seems that all roads, and therefore life in Yangon, meet here. The British used Sule Pagoda as the centre of their grid town planning when redesigning Yangon in the 1880s. The pagoda’s peculiarity is its octagonal- shaped pagoda, which retains its shape as it tapers to the spire. And any local will tell you that royalty and astrologers convened here over 2,000 years ago to determine the present-day site of Shwedagon Pagoda. Sule Pagoda has a modern-day relevance too when, during the political demonstrations of 1988 and 2007, it served as a meeting point for many political activists.

Sule Pagoda is a typical dome-shaped structure or stupa, found in the neighbouring countries of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The main Pagoda, a curious octagonal bell shape, is surrounded by minor stupas, bronze bells, and shrines containing Buddha images. There are eight Buddha images representing each day of the week (Wednesday represents two days).

Walking along the circular path, you can inspect the shrines up close and stop to pay homage to your birthday Buddha (the day of the week on which you were born). Offerings of flowers, fruits and gold leaves can all be bought from the shops on the ground level. There are four stair entrances leading up to Sule Pagoda. As it is situated on a busy intersection, crossing the road to it can be tricky so exercise care.

Sule Pagoda’s unique location, surrounded as it is by a few tourist attractions, means that it is a good starting point of a walk around the city centre. A short stroll away, admires the typical colonial-style buildings at the City Hall, the High Court and the Independence Monument.

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