DATO KEE HUA CHEE, PRINCESS DR BECKY LEGARDO, DANIEL, RAPHAEL, GLORIA, NANNY LUCHIT AND MICHAEL MANTZ IN FRONT OF RUBY-EYE BUDDHA ON TV SCREEN AS NONE IS ALLOWED TO ENTER HIS SHRINE
PRINCESS DR BECKY LEOGARDO DONATED US$ 400 IN HER NAME, NAMES OF SISTERS RUTH AND DR CHIT MAGTAL, DATO TRACY ONG AND DATIN JONESER CHOI
Shwedagon pagoda is a massive temple complex in the heart of Yangon, capital of Myanmar and the biggest in the world. Angkor and Borobudur may be bigger but they are no longer used daily as a Buddhist temple whereas Shwedagon is used constantly not only as Yangon's biggest attraction but as a personal shrine.
Locals come here at 4 am when it opens and stay till 10 pm when it closes. Locals come and go as they like as it is free for them as it should be but tourists and foreigners pay US$8 or 8,000 kyat. Incredibly they insist on kyat instead of good old greenbacks which is preferred by everyone else! I could scarcely believe my ears when they said no US dollars are accepted despite the fact US$ 1 is worth 1,103 kyat so US$ 8 is 8,816 kyat and not the required 8,000 kyat!
The main entrance allocated for tourists has no money changer as the local souvenir shop refused to change so we had to walk to one of 4 magnificent staircases which has a money changer next to the ticket desk! So we saved 816 kyat! How bizarre.
Shwedagon is 2,600 years old according to Burmese archives or it could be anytime between the 6th and 4th century BC as Gautama Siddartha Sakyamuni was born around this era.
Shwedagon is unique as it was built when Gautama Buddha aka the historical Buddha was born. No other temple exists today that can claim this amazing lineage all the way back when Buddha was alive and preaching the doctrine of Buddhism or the Middle Path!
Of course back then Shwedagon pagoda was not as grand as today as the main stupa attained its present height of 99 metres or 110 metres if you include the final spire containing 4,531 diamonds including the 76 carat solitaire right at the apex. In addition there are thousands of rings, necklaces, pendants and brooches studded with rubies sapphires and emeralds donated by Buddhists who believe their donations will always bring them luck.
The original stupa was only 8.2 metres!
In the 14th century King Binya built it to 18 metres or 59 feet and Queen Binya Thau had it increased to 40 metres (131 ft) a century later. It reached its present height of 99 metres (325 ft) after King Hsinbyushin rebuilt it after an earthquake brought down the spire in 1768. Some say the solid gold stupa was made from gold taken from Ayutthaya when the Burmese destroyed Thailand's capital in 1767. Unlike other stupas that are gold plated, Shwedagon is made of solid gold---tons and tons of it!
The value of the gold alone makes Myanmar one of the richest countries in Asia but of course the gold remains inviolate and will never be sold as every Burmese would prefer to starve to death than desecrate the gold from Shwedagon stupa! Not for nothing is Burma known as the Golden Land!
A visit is a must in your life time. If you are not impressed, I will refund your airticket and hotel and food!
There are thousands of Buddha statues in Shwedagon and each Burmese tend to have a favorite so its is normal for a local to pray in front of his or favorite Buddha.
However there is a statue known as Ruby-Eye Buddha which grants all wishes so I went to pray there on my first visit and my wish was granted within 48 hours. The next trip I went to pray again and my wish was granted within 55 hours.
So when Princess Dr Becky Leogardo wanted a son, I took her and Michael Mantz (since a man had to be involved to contribute the sperm) to pray before the Ruby-Eye Buddha and Daniel was born! Then Princess Dr Becky Leogardo decided she wanted a daughter after 3 years and we returned to Shwedagon to pray and ask. This time Ruby Eye Buddha gave her a bonus---twins Gloria and Raphael!
She vowed to bring the children to Shwedagon once the twins turned 5 and they did on 1 June 2015 so off we went to say Thank You to Ruby Eye Buddha on 15 June 2015!
The South Entrance
This is where tourists begin their visit
We had to walk to South Entrance to change US dollars into kyat as we need pay in local currency
Stairway inside the South Entrance is so exotic
From ground to the top are stalls selling Buddhas, flowers, ornaments, children's toys, clothes and accessories.
One of 4 main pavilions
SHWEDAGON IS SO PHOTOGENIC IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TAKE BAD PHOTOS!
EACH CORNER SEEMS TO BE EVEN MORE EXOTIC AND ENTHRALLING THAN THE PREVIOUS ONE!
Looks like a dream and feels like it too!
A WONDER OF THE WORLD!
Raphael, Gloria and Daniel Mantz paying homage to Ruby Eye Buddha
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, Daniel, Raphael, Gloria, nanny Luchit and Michael Mantz
Ruby Eye Buddha is on the Samsung TV screen 24/7
Dato Kee Hua Chee, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, Daniel, Raphael, Gloria, Luchit and Michael Mantz
Praying to Ruby Eye Buddha who gave Daniel, Gloria and Raphael to Princess Dr Becky Leogardo
Praying to Ruby Eye Buddha
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo gave us US dollars to put inside coffer
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo advising Daniel what to say to Ruby Eye Buddha
Daniel prayed to Ruby Eye Buddha
Ruby Eye Buddha is on Samsung TV screen 24/7
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo praying to Ruby Eye Buddha in second pavilion
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo praying to Ruby-Eye Buddha
Dato Kee Hua Chee is blessed to be able to return to Shwedagon thanks to Princess Dr Becky Leogardo who paid the air tickets, food and Shangrila hotel for Daniel, Gloria, Raphael, nanny Luchit and Michael Mantz to come to Yangon
Dato Kee Hua Chee is joyful
Dato Kee Hua Chee
Dato Kee Hua Chee wore dragon ensemble
Dato Kee Hua Chee and stupa made of solid gold
Dato Kee Hua Chee beneath golden Shwedagon pagoda
Dato Kee Hua Chee
Grateful to be here again for the 6th time!
Dato Kee Hua Chee thanks RubyEye Buddha for all the blessings
Praise Ruby Eye Buddha who grants all wishes
Out tour guide Amoe!
Gloria climbing Mount Everest
Gloria climbs on top of Raphael who climbs on top of Michael Mantz
Praying at third pavilion
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo donating US$ 400 in her name, names of sisters Ruth and Dr Chit, Dato Tracy Ong and Datin Joneser Choi
Raphael plans to join Cirque du Soleil
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo donating cash US$ 400 to Shwedagon
Writing the names to appear in certificates and recceipts
I went exploring while waiting for certificates to be issued
Some like the blinking lights, some don't
Dato Kee Hua Chee
It was bit rainy...
Amoe, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, Gloriam Daniel, Raphael and Luchit
Dato Kee Hua Chee joins in
The Bodhi tree is a sapling from the original tree where Buddha became enlightened
The certificates being printed
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo with certificates and receipts fr US$ 400
Orb at the apex of spire
Ruby Eye Buddha
Supplicant like me
Man in prayer
Dato Kee Hua Chee feeling grateful
Dato Kee Hua Chee prays to Ruby Eye Buddha
Dato Kee Hua Chee looking radiant
Dato Kee Hua Chee having glorious time at Shwedagon
Praise Ruby Eye Buddha!