Northeast of Old Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)Prices
Included in the Bagan Archeaological Zone ticket (25 000 kyats ~ $20)Opening hours
08:00 am - 05:00 pm.
At sunset the white Shwesandaw Pagoda is a bit crowded as visitors gather to take advantage of the fantastic view over the temples and the river. This pagoda of the 'golden relic' was one of the first to be built by Anawrahta. He is said to have constructed it in 1057, following his successful campaign against Thaton, in order to enshrine a hair relic of the Buddha that had been given to him by the ruler of Bago (Pegu). Following an ancient Pyu tradition, the stupa is situated outside the city walls, where along with four other pagodas, including the Shwezigon, it provides spiritual protection for Bagan. Four separate square terraces give the Shwesandaw a pyramidal form, and formerly there were figures of the Hindu elephant god Ganesha in all fours.
King Anawrahta built Shwesandaw Pagoda after his conquest of Thaton in 1057. This graceful circular pagoda was constructed at the centre of his newly empowered kingdom. The pagoda was also known as Ganesh or Mahapeine after the elephant-headed Hindu god whose images once stood at the corners of the five successive terraces.
The five terraces once bore terracotta plaques showing scenes from the jalakas, but traces of these, and of other sculptures, were covered by lather heavy-handed renovations.
The pagoda's bell rises from two octagonal bases which top the five square terraces. This was the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the pagoda itself. This pagoda supposedly enshrines a Buddha hair relic brought back from Thaton.
The hti, which was toppled by the earthquake, can still be seen lying on the far side of the pagoda compound. A new one was fitted soon after tie quake.
Before when people were allowed to climb up the terrace of the pagoda, it was a great spot to view the sunset of Bagan. But nowadays, to keep the ancient monuments in good shape, the stairways have been closed down.