Sule Pagoda – The ancient pagoda in Yangon
The Sule Pagoda was built about 2,500 years ago. It was the lifetime of the Gautama Budda. Sule Pagoda is a small and ancient pagoda which is located in the center of Yangon. The pagoda is surrounded by busy market, streets and colonial era buildings. At the first time, the pagoda was much smaller. Later Kings renovated and expanded it several times. When it was renovated halfway through the 15th century, the Sule Pagoda reached its current height.
1. Meaning of the name Sule Pagoda
The Sule Pagoda is named after Sularata, a Sule Nat (spirit) who once lived in the area where the pagoda now stands. Legend has it that Sularata, a Nat millions of years old, discovered the location where the Buddha’s relics of the three reincarnations were buried, as well as the site where the Shwedagon pagoda was to be built 2,500 years ago. Nat spirits have been worshiped in Myanmar for centuries prior to the arrival of Buddhism.
Sule Pagoda is named after Sularata
2. The unique architecture of Sule Pagoda
Sule Pagoda has typical pagoda architecture, which can be found in Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. The Pagoda is famous for its octagonal bell shape, which is similar to the Mon (an ethnic group in Myanmar) style chedi. It has a length of nearly 79 meters and a height of 44 meters.
A circular structure surrounds the pagoda and houses small shops that provide services such as astrology and palmistry. The Sule grounds are accessible via four entrances topped with multi-tiered Pyatthat roofs. Buddhist devotees make merit by ringing bronze bells around the pagoda, which houses images of the Buddha.
Architecture of Sule Pagoda
3. Hintha Bird & Nat spirits
On the temple grounds, there are several depictions of the Hintha bird, Bago’s symbol. One of the mythological birds, with a miniature pagoda on its back, sits atop a lotus flower pole, while another, with a shrine on its back, hangs from a steel cable.
On the Sule grounds, there are several images of Nat spirits. For centuries, Burmese have worshiped Nat spirits, the most important of which reside on Mount Popa.
4. How to get to the Sule Pagoda
The Sule Pagoda, one of what to see in Yangon in a pagoda travel here, is located in the city center about halfway between the central railway station and the Yangon river and can be reached by taxi or many other public vehicles in the city. You can request that the driver take you to the center of a roundabout at the intersection of Sule and Maha Bandula roads.
5. Operating Hours
Sule Pagoda is open daily from 6 a.m. to 22 a.m. Before entering, you must place your shoes on the shelves near the entrance.
6. Entrance Fee
The entrance fee is $3 per person. Foreign visitors are asked to make a donation ranging from 500 to 1,000 Kyat. A guide can be hired to explain the history of the pagoda as well as Buddhist beliefs and rituals. The rate ranges between $5 and $10, depending on bargaining skill.
7. The best things you should to do when visit Sule Pagoda
When you step foot at Sule Pagoda, you will have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to pray for health and happiness for yourself and your family, to live in a sacred space with the smell of incense smoke, and to participate in early afternoon prayers. Seeing the respect of those who come to the temple, you will find your soul more peaceful and lighter.
Here you will be able to admire the large footprints made from marble in the four large shrines in the temple. According to legend, these footprints, which are silhouetted on and under the temple’s floor, are the footprints of Buddha Shakyamuni on the occasion of his pilgrimage to Sule Pagoda and were later decorated with a lot of gold leaf by local people.