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South-east view of the Shwemawdaw Pagoda, [Pegu].

South-east view of the Shwemawdaw Pagoda, [Pegu].

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1909

Shelfmark: Photo 1004/2(815)

Item number: 815

Length: 14.7

Width: 20.25

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph with a south east view of the Shwemawdaw Pagoda at Pegu (Bago), Burma (Myanmar), from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1907-13. The photograph was taken by an unknown photographer of the Burma Archaeological Survey.

Bago, the fourth largest city in Burma, is about 80 kms north-east of Rangoon and was once ancient Hanthawadi, the capital of a Mon kingdom. It is said to have been founded in the 6th century by two Mon princes from Thaton, but achieved its greatest prosperity in the later Mon dynastic period of 1369-1539. To Europeans, it was the important seaport of Pegu. Today little remains of its regal past.

The glittering golden top of the Shwemawdaw (Great Golden Lord) Pagoda towers above the town. Said to be more than a thousand years old, it was built to enshrine two hairs of the Buddha and also contains his tooth relics. Succeeding kings have repaired it, added to its height and added htis or umbrellas. In 1930 an immense earthquake all but levelled it, and the present structure dates from the 1950s restoration. Guarded by chinthes (leogryphs) and accessed by a covered walkway, it is about 14ms higher than the Shwe Dagon in Rangoon (Yangon).

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