Amidst the bustle of Yangon city, among colonial buildings like the Supreme Court or the city hall, there is a small temple called Sule Paya. This temple is not only a religious site but also a historical landmark in Yangon.
The Sule Pagoda, or Sule Paya, is located in downtown Yangon, at the intersection of two major roads, Sule Pagoda and Mahabandoola Road. The temple is located like a jewel glowing in the middle of the street, especially at night, giving it a mysterious yet magnificent beauty that every tourist wants to explore.
The Sule Pagoda at the central street
This sacred temple was built more than 2500 years ago and is home to one of the 8 Buddha’s hairs given to 2 Myanmar merchants thousands of years ago. The 48-meter-tall Sule Pagoda will impress tourists from afar with a gold-plated dome and a peak of a golden spire. The temple has a unique architecture that features the octagonal shape up to the top of the tower. The details of the temple are also beautifully carved, sophisticated with 10 bronze bells and many other Buddhist sacred objects. In addition, the four major towers in the temple have large marble footprints. According to legend, those are the footsteps of Buddha Shakyamuni on the occasion of the pilgrimage to the temple, and are heavily decorated with gold leaves.
The 48-meter-tall Sule Pagoda
Interestingly, inside the temple there are 8 Buddha statues, symbolizing 7 days of the week (there are 2 Buddha statues representing Wednesday, Buddha's day). Like that of the Golden Swedagon Pagoda, visitors can stop by the Buddha statue symbolizing their birthday of the week and pray for good health, luck and prosperity.
People are praying at the pagoda
Tourists should visit Yangon on the occasion of the festival, around February when the pagoda becomes more decorated and sparkling than ever. At dusk, many groups of pilgrims and locals begin to march and celebrate around the main hall as well as the surrounding towers. The chattering and chanting sound of the monks will bring tourists back to the old days of the beautiful Yangon city. The light of the golden sun looming behind the pagoda’s spire will definitely calm tourists’ souls. More stunningly, the pagoda is like a gem in the middle of Yangon at night, radiating a radiant charm that no tourists can resist.
The glowing Sule Pagoda at night
Just like any religious sites in Myanmar, tourists must take off shoes before entering the pagoda; therefore slippers are highly recommended on such trips. The most ideal time to visit Yangon in general and Sule Pagoda in particular is during the cooling season, from November to February.
Sule Paya is situated in the center of the city, thus getting to the temple should be easy for tourists through any kinds of public transportation. The entrance fee is 3 US$ per person. Tourists can pay extra fee to hire a local guide explaining about the pagoda’s history as well as some Buddhist rituals.