Witnessing the Beauty and Wonders of the Shwezigon Pagoda
One of Bagan's most important reliquary shrines is Shwezigon, a place built specifically for prayer and for the reflection of the new Theravada faith that King Anawarahta introduced in Bagan. This pagoda is as mysterious as it is beautiful, and if you're interested in seeing a unique pagoda unlike any other, Trip Guru highly recommends a trip to this Pagoda, that sits on three rising terraces.
A fascinating thing about the Shwezigon Pagoda is the fact that the large golden roof--known as the umbrella-shaped Hti--of the Shwezigon has absolutely no iron buttresses, an amazing thing since this Pagoda still proudly stands even without the support, and it was built back in AD 1090. Shwezigon is also the site where the 37 nats (pre-Buddhist spirits) were first endorsed by Myanmar monarchs. Towards the eastern end stands the original stone statue of Thagyamin, the king of the nats.
Another part of the mystery surrounding this Pagoda is that the papers that hold the gold leaf are dropped from the height of the Pagoda right after the gilding process, but they have never landed outside the courtyard, or anywhere in the precinct of the Pagoda. If you arrive during a festival, you can see dozens of people arriving, locals and tourists alike but for some strange reason, the courtyard of Shwezigon never seems too full--there always seems to be room for absolutely everybody. Whether it's a matter of amazement with the way this Pagoda's architecture functions, or just a calling from your soul that you need to visit--it is worth going to this place at least once.
To visit the Shwezigon Pagoda from Old Bagan, you can take a car and get there by heading north, then turning right, and continuing onto Lanmadaw 3 Rd. Finally, you can turn left onto Shwezigon Pagoda St. Be sure to dress modestly, as short skirts, skimpy tops and short pants are considered inappropriate. If you wish to attend the Shwezigon Festival, the best time to visit would be in November or December, as that is when the most pilgrims are attracted to the site from all around Myanmar.