Kalam visits Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar
On the second day of his three-day visit to Myanmar, the Indian President went around the Pagoda, located atop a 58-metre-high hill.india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 11:51 IST
President APJ Abdul Kalam on Thursday visited the revered Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar where Buddh's relics are enshrined.
On the second day of his three-day visit to Myanmar, the first visit by an Indian Head of State, Kalam went around the Pagoda, located atop a 58-metre-high hill.
One of the wonders of the world, it is believed that the Pagoda was built over 2500 years ago. His relics were divided in eight equal parts and enshrined in an equal number of stupas.
Later, emperor Ashoka is said to have recovered one of the eight parts and distributed it among 84,000 stupas.
The Shwedagon Pagoda takes a pare-eminent place because it enshrines sacred hair of the Buddha, which was obtained during his lifetime.
According to history, two merchant brothers from Asitanjana (ancient name of Myanmar) met Lord Buddha on the 49th day after his enlightenment. The two bothers offered him honey cakes.
After Lord Buddha had eaten the cakes, they asked for a gift from him. Lord Buddha passed his hand over his head and obtained either hairs and gave these to the two brothers.
On their way home, they had to give two hairs to king of Ajjatta and two to a Naga King.
They presented the remaining four hairs to King of Ukkalapa. The king recovered the remaining four hails also and brought all the eight hairs to Asitanjana.