Botatoung Pagoda is located in downtown Yangon next to the Yangon River in Myanmar. Botatoung when translated in English means ‘1000 military officers’ and the pagoda was first built by the Mon. Botatoung Pagoda is believed to have been constructed at the same time as the Shwedagon Pagoda over 2500 years ago. Formerly it was known as Kyaik-de-att in Mon language. The pagoda is believed to be home to a sacred hair of Gautama Buddha and is hollow within.
As per the Burmese tradition the pagoda is situated in a holy place where the relics of Gautama Buddha was being brought by 1000 military officials from India around 2000 years ago. According to historical accounts King Sihadipa gave responsibility to his faithful and dutiful to build a temple dedicated to Lord Buddha by presenting one of Buddha’s hairs and relics of 2 body parts. The temple is built to the east of Shwedagon Pagoda as per the instruction of an influential religious leader.
The Botatoung Pagoda was rebuilt after the destruction caused during World War II. Reconstruction started on 4th January, 1948. The shape of the pagoda resembles an inverted pot with 20×20 measurement. Inside this pot a stone casket is kept which is surrounded by nat figures sculpted from laterite acting as sentinels. Along with the pagoda shaped stone casket, there are ornaments, terracotta plaques, precious stones and images made of gold, brass and silver. The plaques bear depiction of scenes from Buddha’s life. Another stone casket and a gold cylinder are also present within the stone casket. This cylinder has the body relics and the sacred hair.
The restructured pagoda is 131feet high and its highlight is the hollow inside the stupa. This hollow contains a mirrored maze-like pathway lined with glass showcases comprising several artifacts that were inside the original structure.