I was feeling rather uncomfortable by the time we left the hotel, not only did I have a slightly swollen eye but also a strong head ache, both provoked (or so I believed) by a sinus crisis, which I felt was directly associated to the percentage of humidity and the rather stuffy weather.
As we walked into the Shwe Zigon Pagoda by one of its entrance corridors I was not expecting to see such a huge beautiful circular gold-leaf gilded stupa surrounded by a number of tazaungs, smaller temples and shrines.
My attention was mostly drawn to the gilded stupa whose picture I did take from several perspectives. It wasn't much later that I realised the four sides had a central stairway guarded by Makaras (sea creatures from Hindu Mythology) and the three terraces containing glazed terracotta plaques, said to depict scenes from the 547 Jataka tales (stories about the previous lives of the Buddha).
I was rather impressed to find out its construction began during the reign of King Anawrahta having been completed by 1102 during the reign of King Kyansittha. Despite the fact that the gilding was "peeling" off in several places through which one could see the red brick base the overall aspect was incredible and the more I looked at the stupa the more I was drawn to its details.
It was still fairly early so there weren't too many people walking around, which allowed us a certain freedom of movement before we started specifically visiting some of the shrines within the pagoda ensemble.
(To be continued)