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Shwezigon Pagoda

The Shwezigon Pagoda or Shwezigon Paya is a Buddhist temple located in Nyaung-U, a town near Bagan, in Myanmar. A prototype of Burmese stupas, it consists of a circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smaller temples and shrines. Construction of the Shwezigon Pagoda began during the reign of King Anawrahta (r. 1044–77), who was the founder of the Pagan Dynasty, in 1059–1060 and was completed in 1102 AD, during the reign of his son King Kyansittha. Over the centuries the pagoda had been damaged by many earthquakes and other natural calamities, and has been refurbished several times. In recent renovations it has been covered by more than 30,000 copper plates. However, the lowest level terraces have remained as they were. This pagoda, a Buddhist religious place, is believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha. The pagoda is in the form of a cone formed by five square terraces with a central solid core. There are footprints below the four standing Buddha statues here. Jataka legends are depicted on glazed terra-cotta tiles set into three rectangular terraces. At the entrance of the pagoda there are large statues of guardians of the temple. There are also four bronze standing statues of Buddha which are stated to be of the current age Buddha. At the outer limits of the pagoda there are 37 nats deified along with an intricately carved wooden sculpture of Thagyamin a Burmese version of Hindu god Indra. Within the compound of the Shwezigon Pagoda there is a stone pillar containing Mon language inscriptions dedicated by Kyansittha.
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