Click on picture to enlarge.
The Shwedagon pagoda is the most famous building in Yangon and Myanmar. It is a huge collection of buildings, stupas , statues etc and people.
The main pagoda was under restoration so it was in part covered with bamboo scaffolding. On the very top is a diamond weighing 76 carats, then follows a ball called “The Diamond Orb”, 56 cm high and 27 cm diameter.It is made of gold and is covered with 4351 diamonds (YES, really 4351 diamonds) weighing 1800 carats.
Under the orb is a gold construction called “The vane”. I don’t think it could be used as a weather vane as it weighs 419 kg of gold and is 120 cm high and 76 cm wide.
Then comes “The Umbrella”, 13 meters high and up to 5 meters in diameter. The weight of the gold is 500 kg and is covered with 83850 precious stones.
These facts are taken from the official brochure we got at the pagoda.
Here I have to catch my breath and try to sort out my thoughts and reactions. Myanmar is a very poor country with a very small budget for education and health, but it can use tons of gold and almost 100000 of precious stones 100 meters up on top of a building where nobody can see them. It is a paradox and I am very confused, I just don’t understand .
We were told that under The Umbrella the pagoda was covered with gold plates, not gold leaves, and the weight of the gold was said to be 60 tons. My confusion is even stronger. How can a country make their priorities like that? What are the motives to do it ? Religion, power or what ? I am utterly confused and have no answers.
But there are a lot of photo motives and here is a collection.