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Why Shwedagon Pagoda has a golden glow

While much of Shwedagon Pagoda’s beauty derives from the complex geometry of its shape and surrounding structures, equally mesmerizing is its golden glow. Located in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital city, the pagoda’s lower stupa is plated with 8,688 solid gold bars, the upper part with another 13,153. The tip of the stupa, far too high for the human eye to discern in any detail, is set with 5448 diamonds, 2317 rubies, sapphires, and other gems, 1065 golden bells and, at the very top, a single 76-carat diamond. There is little wonder that the Shwedagon is referred to in Myanmar as “The crown of Burma.”

The pagoda rises 326 feet (99 m) on a hill 168 feet (51 m) above the city. It is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha, a fact that only adds to its prestige. The stairways and bridges leading into the main sanctuary serve the thousands of pilgrims who flock here. The pagoda said to be 2500 years old, is the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the people of the Union of Myanmar.

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