Visiting Myanmar? Don’t Miss These Most Famous Buddhist Monuments

Myanmar (Burma) is one of the best places in Asia to see Buddhist architecture and monuments. All over the country are countless iconic sights and pagodas. Here are three of the top Buddhist monuments to see on a visit to the country.

Shwedagon Pagoda - photo by Paul Arps
Shwedagon Pagoda – photo by Paul Arps

Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon is the major Buddhist monument in Burma and is a landmark in Yangon. There has been a religious site here for over 2500 years and the golden stupa has been rebuilt several times; the latest in 1769.

Gilding the stupa began in the 15th century and today the golden zedi has thousands of tons of gold around its structure. At the very top are thousands of diamonds with a single 76 carat gem at the tip of the orb.

All around the zedi are smaller shrines for worship and a constant movement of people walking around the religious site, many in prayer.

Mahamuni Paya - Photo by Glenn Forbes
Mahamuni Paya – Photo by Glenn Forbes

Mahamuni Paya

In Mandalay the huge Buddha at Mahamuni Paya is a famous Buddhist monument. Believed by many to be over 2000 years old the site is of major religious significance with followers visiting each day.

The massive statue was seized from Mrauk U in 1784 and housed in Mandalay ever since. A frieze of paintings in the pagoda highlights this story.

So much gold has been applied over the years that Mahamuni Paya is covered in 6 inches of the metal!

Each evening Buddha is put to sleep in a ceremony when a cloth covers his face.

Ananda Pahto - photo by Glenn Forbes
Ananda Pahto – photo by Glenn Forbes

Ananda Pahto, Bagan

There are over 4000 Buddhist temples in Bagan and one of the most famous is Ananda Pahto. The distinctive temple architecture is renowned in itself but this paya is famed for its four wooden statues of Buddha. These depict Buddha’s life in the various forms such as the hand position depicting teaching.

The temple is also renowned for its gold glimmering hti and is thought to be a style typical of the early Bagan period.

In Myanmar there are thousands of examples of Buddhist architecture to see from renowned monuments to simple stupas, and even undiscovered structures in jungle areas. Follow us on Twitter or Subscribe to this blog to get more travel and history information about Buddhist sites in Burma and other “Golden Lands”.