Finding El Dorado

Finding El Dorado

Ever wonder what $2.4 billion of gold would look like?  Stop by Shwedagon Paya and look at the center tower, made from over 8,000 gold plates, it contains over 50 tons of gold.  If that isn’t enough it has a 76 carat diamond on top.  All this is in addition to the 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies tacked on…to add a little sparkle to that golden shine.  Yangon, Myanmar

This may be the biggest display of gold in Myanmar, but it is more the norm than the exception.  The country is covered in gold plates, leaf and stores.  People in Myanmar love their gold, hold it as savings, wear it for show, but most importantly, give it as offerings to Buddha.

Like the mythical El Dorado, everywhere you turn you will see gold.  Some of it will be paint, but never worry, even though this is one of the poorest countries in the world, you will never be far from real gold.  Here are some of the sights you will see in Myanmar, the real El Dorado.

One of the holiest places in all of Myanmar, The Golden Rock, is said to precariously balance on one of Buddha’s hairs.  The legend has it that a hermit received Buddha’s hair and gave it to the King with the request that it be enshrined on a boulder the shape of the hermit’s head.  Utilizing supernatural powers, the King found the perfect boulder at the bottom of the sea, and transported it to this hill.  The boat that brought it to the hill then turned into a rock, which is also gold covered. (Seriously, see the Wikipedia entry here). Kinpun, Myanmar

The Royal Palace wouldn’t be Royal without some gold fringe.  Mandalay, Myanmar

We don’t even know what this golden monkey is, all we know is that he’s revered enough to be covered in gold leaf by the devotees.  You may have a monkey doll, maybe even a real monkey, but is yours covered in gold?  I didn’t think so…  Monywa, Myanmar

UNESCO be damned, Ananda Pahto got “restored” and given a gold covered top.  It may be historically inaccurate enough that UNESCO won’t make it a World Heritage site, but that’s not as important as making sure it’s topped in gold.  Bagan, Myanmar

One of the “nats”, the spirit of prosperity is suitably covered in gold leaf with fistfuls of cash, leaving no doubt about how prosperity is measured. Mt Popa, outside Bagan, Myanmar

Even Buddha himself gets his gilding on at Setkyyathiha Paya.  Mandalay, Myanmar

Not to be outshone by it’s taller peer Shwedagon Paya, Sule Pagoda claims to have been golden longer, for 2,500 years.  Though it’s birthday may be unknown, it stands proud and golden in the middle of a busy street in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

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Comments

» Mom A :
Jun 23, 2011

Put all the cathedrals, historic works of art and royal jewels in the rest of the world together and nothing will match the dazzle of S.E. Asia’s places of worship and you have discovered the most gold and jewels well hidden in Myanmar!

» Cindy :
Jun 25, 2011

monkeys have always been revered in tropical civilisations as they have been most interactive and raised to deity levels…..with their associated powers ,,,,enjoy your commentary from both of you ///// ec/

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thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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