Botatung Paya, Rangoon
This Image, in it's own pavilion, is a famous image from the Royal Palace Mandalay that was taken by the British and spent many years in the V & A Museum London. It was eventually returned and now resides here.
The Botataung Pagoda also spelled Botahtaung; literally meaning "1000 military officers") is a famous pagoda located in downtown Yangon, by the river. The pagoda was first built by the Mon around the same time as was Shwedagon Pagoda—according to local belief, over 2500 years ago, and was known as Kyaik-de-att in Mon language. The pagoda is hollow within and can be entered to view, and houses what is believed to be a sacred hair of Gautama Buddha.
The Botataung Pagoda was completely destroyed during World War II, and was rebuilt after the war.
Also at the site is the Royal Palace Bronze Image.
This interesting Pagoda is one of the three Yangon´s big three Payas. The pagoda was named in honor of the 1,000 generals who escorted the Buddha relics from India to Myanmar 2,000 years ago. Is said that the Paya housed eight strands of the Lord Buddha, before they were distributed to other pagodas in the area. The stupa is hollow, with glass showcases containig several relics and statues of Buddha in silver and gold. It was completely destroyed in 1943 by allied bombers when they were bombing the docks nearby in the second World War. The Pagoda was rebuilt using the same style of the old one. There´s also a pond with fish and turtles beside the Stupa. The complex is located in front of the Yangon river, and has nice views of the river and the boats coming and going to the other shore.
I suppose anything must suffer somewhat from comparison to Shwedagon Paya (see seperate tip and travelogue) and this place, another of the major temples in Yangon (Rangoon) certainly does, being neither so old nor so grand, but it is certainly an intersting place to visit.
The name Botataung actually means 1000 generals and the story behind this runs as follows. Eight strands of Buddha's hair were obtained in India by a pair of Burmese merchants and returned home up the Ayerawaddy River to Yangon (Rangoon). So important was this event deemed to be that the boat was met by the aforementioned 1000 generals as a sign of reverence. The eight strands of hair were all held on this site for a time before being distributed elsewhere, although there is still said to be one hair within the stupa.
The reason the Paya is not as ancient as Shwedagon is that during World War 2, Allied bombers reduced the place to rubble whilst bombing the nearby docks. After the War, a great effort was made and the place was rebuilt, a process which continues to this day (I saw a new temple being constructed near the entrance gate).
One unusual feature of the place is that the stups is hollow and you can walk round a glass mosaic walkway where numerous religious artefacts are displayed (see photo). I have never seen another stupa like this on my travels in Southeast Asia.
Another interesting little sight are the turtles in the pond beside the bridge to the left as you enter.
entrance is 2 USD for foreigners with an additional fee of 1USD for a stills camera or 2USD for video. You can leave your footwear with the guy in the office where you get your ticket.
While walking and sightseeing around in Botataung pagoda, we visited some satellite pavillions. Some of them were rather weird as they presented a decorated moving platform with small cans where the prayers were practicing their skills by throwing money inside from a distance. It looked at first sight more like a game than rather a pray...but this is up to locals to explain.
Unlike other zedis (or stupas) which are solid the Botataung is hollow and you can walk through it. There you'll have one of the few chances to see Buddha relics (usually buried and out of sight). The rooms around and underneath zedi have a conical shape and are mirrored making a perfect place of one-man place to meditate. Several artefacts are also on display.
The name ''Botataung" is from 'Bo' a military officer and 'ta taung' one thousand because as legend says on a hillock at this site that one thousand military officers of the king were drawn up as a guard of honour to welcome the landing in Burma of the relics of the Buddha brought over from India more than two thousand years ago. Story says that the Buddhist king Sihadipa gave one of his ministers a sacred hair from the Buddha's head and two body relics and this minister, renowned for his goodness and faith, consulted a famous religious leader and, on his advice, chose the Botataung Mount on the bank of Rangoon River and there enshrined the sacred relics.
The Botataung Pagoda was a famous Land-mark on Rangoon's waterfront but in 1943 the R.A.F. bombed Rangoon's wharves and a whole "stick" of bombs straddled the ancient Botataung Pagoda. As soon as the war ended a Rehabilitation Committee of leading citizens was formed to take steps to rebuild the Pagoda. Preliminary work was commenced and plans drawn up for the rebuilding.
Housed in a separate spacious pavillion next to the pagoda is the most celebrated Nan Oo (Royal Palace Bronze Image)
History says that in 1859 by the order of King Mindon this Gilded Bronze Image of Buddha was casted, inside which sacred relics were enshrined. in 1885 during the British rule the Image was taken to Britain and exhibited in Victoria and Albert Museum. It was no later than 1951 few years after Mynamar's indepedence that the image returned back home and housed in Botataung pagoda.
Pic 1 - This temple is at the south eastern part of the city. Take about 45 min walk from Sule Paya. It is the first pagoda in yangon that contains the Buddha hair relics. Rather different from other pagoda, this one is hollow inside and visitors can go in.
Pic 2 - There are several chambers inside the pagoda. The one right at the entrance has walls and roof totally covered with gold. Even the pipes are coated gold. This chamber is the one that keeps the hair relic
Pic 3 - The other chambers have mirror mosaics covering the walls. Look rather bizzare...
Pic 4 - Right behind the pagoda is a small jetty for crossing the yangon river.