Shwezigon Pagoda or ရွှေစည်းခုံဘုရား as its known in the Myanmar language was the last of the 3 larger temples and pagoda’s we visited in Bagan.
Built in 1076 by King Anawrahta, a recent convert to Theravada Buddhism, Shwezigon was built to enshrine a number of Buddha relics including a replica of the Buddha tooth from Kandy, Sri Lanka. Shwezigon’s bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later pagodas all over Myanmar, and for this reason felt very similar to other sites we visited such as Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.
Before Buddhism was introduced to Bagan, the Myanmar people worshipped, Nat spirits. Originally King Anawrahta allowed the 37 most important Nats have their images on the lower terraces of the Shwezigon Pagoda. Replicas of these are the small hall next to the platform, as the originals have been stolen and are rumoured to be in Italy in the hands of a collector (shame on them!). Nat worshipping is still very much alive in current day Burma and Mount Popa is known as the home of the Nats.
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