During your trip to Myanmar (Burma), you will have to visit the famous Botataung paya in Yangon. Its name means something like “1,000 military officers” and although it was completely destroyed during the Second World War, it was rebuilt after this war, specifically in 1948 and maintaining the original design that it had. Since then it has been preserved in very good condition and many faithful and tourists pass through it every day.
It’s located near the Yangon River and is one of the main tourist attractions of the city and the country, because this Pagoda consecrates a sacred relic of Buddha: a hair. Let’s learn more about his story.
Entrance to Botataung paya
History of Botataung Paya
Built by the Mon some 2,500 years ago, the Botataung pagoda is 40 metres high, hollow (which allows us to visit it from the inside) and in the centre we find the main stupa which is in turn surrounded by a series of smaller stupas.
View of the main stupa
Where does the name of 1,000 military officers come from? It has to do with an event that occurred more than 2,000 years ago, at which time 8 relics of Buddha were taken to Yangon from India. For this company an honor guard was formed with 1,000 military officers who guarded these relics until their final location. They were distributed by other pagodas, although Buddha’s hair remained one in Botataung’s Pagoda.
But if there’s one thing that makes it stand out, it’s the main stupa, which forms the most singular characteristic of the place. And, although practically all of them are solid and closed to the public, this one, being hollow, can be crossed.
Instead of the relic of the sacred Buddha, it stands out because both the walls and the ceiling are covered with gold. The relic is also exposed in a sanctuary decorated with all kinds of precious jewels, diamonds and gold.
The Pagoda Relic: Buddha’s Sacred Hair
In the enclosure there are also long walkways with mosaic walls and glass showcases, as well as images of ancient Buddha.
Interior walkways of the enclosure
In addition, a surprising fact is that during the reconstruction in 1948 was found a relic chamber with a stone coffin surrounded by figures of spirits (Nat). It also contains a life-size image of Bo Bo Bo Gyi.
Interior of the Botataung pagoda complex
In the vicinity you also have the Royal Palace of glass, where in a pavilion we find the spitting image of the Buddha of Bronze, which was taken to Britain in the colonial years and returned to Burma after achieving independence. You may see believers praying or making offerings, some of which are quite curious.
General view of the Royal Crystal PalaceThe Bronze BuddhaFaithful making offeringsAnd others giving drink to a sacred image
How to get to Botataung PAYA
A quick way to get from downtown Yangon is by taxi to the Botataung pagoda. You’ll have to negotiate the price with the driver.
Practical information about Botataung PAYA
It is open daily from 06:00 to 22:00hThe entrance fee is $2 per person. Shoes and socks must be removed before entering.