Dagon Pagoda, near Rangoon
Referring to the celebrated Shwedagon Paya, Kershaw wrote: "The stupendous proof of the labour to which religious superstition can prompt a nation, is built upon the highest point of land near Rangoon, and about two miles distant from the town."
The origin of the Golden Dagon, the most sacred Buddhist monument in Burma, is shrouded in myth. It was reputedly built during the Buddha's lifetime to enshrine eight of his hairs, and to have been repaired by the great Indian emperor Ashoka. Modern scholars, however, believe it was constructed some 1,000 years later. Certainly rebuilt several times, its present form dates from 1769.
Four walkways lead to it on Singuttara Hill, and the glittering, gilded main stupa, over 90 metres high, is surrounded by numerous temples, statues and pavilions. Kershaw writes of his view: "The temple immediately in front presents one of the most perfect specimens of Burman carving."