The Swe Taw Myat paya or “Buddha tooth relic pagoda” is one of Yangon’s recent places of worship. Construction was funded with donations of Burmese people and Buddhists from all over the world.
The pagoda was constructed to enshrine a sacred Buddha tooth relic, believed to be one of the teeth of the Gautama Buddha who died some 2,500 years ago. The tooth was brought over from China in 1994 and enshrined in the pagoda for 45 days for Burmese Buddhists to pay homage. Enshrined along with the original relic were two ivory copies, one of which is still enshrined in the Swe Taw Myat today.
Resembles the ancient Ananda pagoda in Bagan
Access to the grounds is through a large, elaborately ornamented gateway on Sware Taw Myat road. Approaching the pagoda are stalls where devotees can buy flowers, incense sticks and other items to pay homage to the relic.
The pagoda, a large white building adorned with golden ornamentations, was constructed to resemble the ancient Ananda pagoda in Bagan, that was build late 11th century.
The Swe Taw Myat is a symmetrical building with four entrance portals protruding out from the main structure. The stairs to each entrance are flanked by a pair of white and gold Chinthe, a mythological creature that looks like a lion, in Burma often seen guarding the temple. The center of the structure consists of several tiers of receding size, topped with a gold painted sikhara and a spire.
The sacred Buddha tooth relic
Unlike most relics, the Swe Taw Myat tooth relic can be viewed by the public. Usually the relic is hidden deep in the pagoda or stupa and cannot be viewed.
At the center of the large hall, its roof supported by huge gold painted columns, is a raised structure topped with a very elaborate, multi tiered ceremonial umbrella. The surrounding fence is encircled by Buddha images in various mudras seated on pedestals. The relic, an ivory copy of the Buddha relic from China, is kept in a small cylinder shaped glass case topped with a small multi tiered Pyatthat. The relic is encircled by small green jade Buddha images.
How to get to the Swe Taw Myat pagoda
The pagoda is located on a small hill named Dhammapala in Mayangone township, just South of Yangon airport. The main entrance is on Sware Taw Myat road. The easiest way to get there is by taxi, which would cost around 5,000 Kyat from downtown Yangon.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The grounds open daily from 6 am until 6 pm. Admission is free, camera fee 200 Kyat. Please take off your shoes before entering the pagoda building.