Sule Pagoda

Sule Pagoda is located in the center of Yangon, at the junction of Sule Pagoda Road and Mahabandoola Road, Kyauktada Township. This 48 meter (152 feet) high golden dome was used by the British as the nucleus of their grid pattern for the city when it was rebuilt in the 1880s.

The pagoda's peculiarity is its octagonal - shaped pagoda, which retains its shape as it tapers to the spire.

It's golden dome or zedi contains a hair given by the Buddha to two Burmese merchants. It is reputedly over two thousand years old, all though it has been through so many renovations that its actual origins are obscure. Readily accessible from downtown, a visit to the Sule Pagoda or Paya (Paya is a term that indicates a person or place of great spriritual value) is a good prelude to the much more elaborate Shwedagon Paya, which is actually an entire temple complex.

Like Shwedagon, the Sule Pays is built in the typical Burmese Mon style, with four entrances, facing the four compass points. The photo to the right shows the north or main entryway, overshadowed in this picture by the shrine's zedi. If the Shwedagon Pagoda is the spiritual heart of Yangon, the Sule Pagoda is the human center of worship, bustling with common folk, and lined with merchants.

Entering the shrine, the zedi is ringed by a series of shrines, each dedicated to a to different deity. Each diety and shrine is assigned an astrological sign. The shrines that line the circular dome and the entire circular pathway around the stupa represents a journey through the celestial sphere.

Smaller shrines honor individual dieties in the Buddhist pantheon. The shrines themselves are small enclosures housing a silver, gold, or porcelain likeness of the diety. Devotees enter the shrine and offer alms, in the form of food or flowers as they make their respective offerings (called dana).
The dieties occupying the four compass points are the most significant, as they represent the historical incarnations of the Buddhas. The photo to the right captures the central idol at the west entrance, the temple of the Kassapa Buddha. the precusor to Siddhartha Gautama. The golden idol is encased in a glass and gold leaf enclosure.


The Sule Pagoda is an excellent landmark. It is said to be over 2,000 years old. The pagoda is said to enshrine a hair of the Buddha: its Mon name, Kyaik Athok translates as "the pagoda where a Sacred Hair Relic is enshrined". The golden pagoda is unusual in that its octagonal shape continues right up to the bell and inverted bowl. It is surrounded by small shops and all the familiar non-religious services such as of astrologists, palmists, and so on.

In the downtown area Sule Pagoda is a monument which most foreign visitors pass by unnoticed. But it is the only central piece of the capital, like the Arc de Triumph in Paris

It is the Sule Pagoda. Its legend says that Sule Pagoda marks the site where King Ukkalapa held meetings to build Shwedagon. "Su-Wei" is a Myanmar word meaning "meeting". In course of time 'Su-Wei' corrupted to 'Su-Le' Successive town planners, King Thayawaddy, Montgomery, Fraser and others, all decided to keep Sule Pagoda as the centre piece of Yangon because of its strategic location, religious significance and artistic beauty. It can be reached through four entrances of the four stairways facing four cardinal directions or by two overhead bridges.

Travel Tips

4:00am - 10:00pm daily.

US$5 per person.

Located in the center of Yangon, at the junction of Sule Pagoda Road and Mahabandoola Road, Kyauktada Township.