Road leading to Shoay Dagon Pagoda, Rangoon
Photographer: Jackson, J.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the approach road to the southern and principal entrance of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Rangoon (Yangon), taken by J. Jackson in c.1868, part of an album of 43 views of Burma (Myanmar) from the Sladen Collection. The Shwe Dagon is Burma’s most revered Buddhist shrine and stands at the centre of a terraced site on Singuttara Hill. Legend states that it is of ancient origins, built to enshrine hair relics of the Buddha. Its documented history dates from the 14th century when the Mon king Binnya U raised its stupa to 22 ms., and successive rulers from then on added to its height and embellished it over the centuries. The road terminates in a flight of steps leading to an archway with towers at either side, surmounted by tiered pyat-that spires and overgrown with vegetation. Beyond lies a covered staircase that ascends to the pagoda platform. The conical spire of the main shrine, a gilded stupa or zedi, rises above the trees. The spire is decorated with a series of bands and lotus leaves and culminates in an umbrella or hti at the pinnacle. Statues of two bilus or ogres guard the entrance at either side of the steps and in the foreground at left is another temple or monastic building. The tripod around which several figures are gathered at the base of the steps is presumably part of Jackson's equipment.