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As legend has it two merchants met up with the Buddha in about the year 600 BC - just after he attained enlightenment. They offered him food, he offered them 8 strands of his hair. These are enshrined in this pagoda. At a height of 100 meters it rises up in the center of Yangon and can be seen for miles around. It's always been the symbol of the country.

The Shwedagon Pagoda is undergoing a face lift this year as it does every 4 years. The gold leaf covering the whole structure is removed and then reapplied. The umbrella at the top is said to be of solid gold and weigh ½ ton. There are over 83,000 gems embedded in it.