Sule Pagoda

Sule Pagoda is located right in the heart of Yangon, within a traffic circle, in fact. Indeed, Sule Pagoda is considered the very heart of Yangon.

When the British administrators planned the grid-street system for Yangon, they used Sule Pagoda as reference point for the heart of the city. The landmark of Sule is the 48 metre (157 ft) pagoda. The octagonal structure is indicative of Brahman-Buddhist style.

The name of Sule Pagoda is linked to the Sule Nat, the guardian spirit of Singuttara Hill (refer to the Shwedagon Pagoda for more details). According to legend, two monks Sona and Uttara, were sent from India to Thaton as missionaries after the Third Buddhist Synod, around 230BC. The King of Thaton gave them permission to build a shrine at the foot of Singuttara Hill to preserve a hair of the Buddha which they brought from India. The pagoda was known for centuries at Kyaik Athok, which means "the pagoda that contains the hair relic" in the Mon language, or Sura Zedi, after the minister who supervised its construction, Maha Sura.

The Sule Pagoda incorporated the original Indian structure of the stupa, which initially was used to replicate the form and function of a relic mound. However, as Burmese culture became more independent of its South Indian influences, local architectural forms began to change the shape of the pagoda. It is believe to enshrine a hair of the Buddha that the Buddha himself is said to have given to the two Burmese merchant brothers, Tapissa and Balika. The dome structure, topped with a golden spire, extends into the skyline, marking the cityscape.

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